Parietal somatosensory association cortex mediates affective blindsight

Nat Neurosci. 2004 Apr;7(4):339-40. doi: 10.1038/nn1213. Epub 2004 Mar 14.


To investigate the neural substrates underlying emotional feelings in the absence of a conscious stimulus percept, we presented a visual stimulus in the blind field of partially cortically blind patients and measured cortical activity (by functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI) before and after the stimulus had been paired with an aversive event. After pairing, self-reported negative emotional valence and blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) responses in somatosensory association areas were enhanced, whereby somatosensory activity predicted highly corresponding reported feelings and startle reflex amplitudes across subjects. Our data provide direct evidence that cortical activity representing physical emotional states governs emotional feelings.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affective Symptoms / physiopathology*
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology
  • Association
  • Blindness, Cortical / physiopathology*
  • Blindness, Cortical / psychology
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Perception / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology