Even salient sensory stimuli are sometimes not detected. What goes wrong in the brain in that case? Here we show that a late (> 100-ms) component of the neural activity in the primary visual cortex of the monkey is selectively suppressed when stimuli are not seen. As there is evidence that this activity depends on feedback from extrastriate areas, these findings suggest a specific role for recurrent processing when stimuli are reaching a perceptual level. Further results show that this perceptual level is situated between purely sensory and decision or motor stages of processing.