Cecere, Roberto
Residual visual processing following real or virtual lesions to primary visual pathways [Tesi di dottorato]
Lesions to the primary geniculo-striate visual pathway cause blindness in the contralesional visual field. Nevertheless, previous studies have suggested that patients with visual field defects may still be able to implicitly process the affective valence of unseen emotional stimuli (affective blindsight) through alternative visual pathways bypassing the striate cortex. These alternative pathways may also allow exploitation of multisensory (audio-visual) integration mechanisms, such that auditory stimulation can enhance visual detection of stimuli which would otherwise be undetected when presented alone (crossmodal blindsight). The present dissertation investigated implicit emotional processing and multisensory integration when conscious visual processing is prevented by real or virtual lesions to the geniculo-striate pathway, in order to further clarify both the nature of these residual processes and the functional aspects of the underlying neural pathways. The present experimental evidence demonstrates that alternative subcortical visual pathways allow implicit processing of the emotional content of facial expressions in the absence of cortical processing. However, this residual ability is limited to fearful expressions. This finding suggests the existence of a subcortical system specialised in detecting danger signals based on coarse visual cues, therefore allowing the early recruitment of flight-or-fight behavioural responses even before conscious and detailed recognition of potential threats can take place. Moreover, the present dissertation extends the knowledge about crossmodal blindsight phenomena by showing that, unlike with visual detection, sound cannot crossmodally enhance visual orientation discrimination in the absence of functional striate cortex. This finding demonstrates, on the one hand, that the striate cortex plays a causative role in crossmodally enhancing visual orientation sensitivity and, on the other hand, that subcortical visual pathways bypassing the striate cortex, despite affording audio-visual integration processes leading to the improvement of simple visual abilities such as detection, cannot mediate multisensory enhancement of more complex visual functions, such as orientation discrimination..
In relazione con http://amsdottorato.unibo.it/5896/
M-PSI/02 - Psicobiologia e psicologia fisiologica

Tesi di dottorato. | Lingua: | Paese: | BID: TD17008201
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