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Listening to subject's commentaries can be a useful spur to novel scientific departures, as in studies of blindsight. Recently further testing (after a gap of 17 years) has been possible with subject DB, who was a blindsight patient (the first) tested intensively over a period of 10 years and who was the subject of the book, (Blindsight OUP, 1986, 2nd edition, 1998). Essentially his original capacity is the same or somewhat more sensitive. Some further types of discriminations have now been tested that were not possible in the original study. But a new feature was discovered, namely that he describes conscious after-images of a wide range of inducing stimuli of which he is unconscious. The properties of the after-images are briefly described, such as their occurrence following unseen colour patches, luminance changes, shape, spatial frequency, their long durations, showing inter-ocular transfer, as well as their conforming to Emmert's Law. Various approaches are discussed towards finding the source of their generation, such as the use of after-images of colour mixes of separate inputs to the two eyes ("cortical yellow"). They are also discussed in terms of after-images in normal subjects that are generated by imagination. The discovery offers a rare potential opportunity to compare the brain activity associated with both the conscious and unconscious attributes of the precisely the same stimuli in the same locus in the same subject.

Original publication




Journal article


Conscious Cogn

Publication Date





568 - 581


Adult, Afterimage, Brain Neoplasms, Color Perception, Consciousness, Hemangioma, Humans, Male, Models, Psychological, Unconscious, Psychology, Visual Cortex