Responses of cells in monkey visual cortex during perceptual filling-in of an artificial scotoma

Nature. 1995 Oct 26;377(6551):731-4. doi: 10.1038/377731a0.


When we view a scene through one eye, we typically do not see the scotomas created by the optic disc and the blood vessels overlying the retinal surface. Similarly, when a texture field containing a hole is steadily viewed in peripheral vision (artificial scotoma), the hole appears to fill in with the surrounding texture in a matter of seconds, demonstrating that the visual system fills in information across regions where no information is available. Here we show that, in monkeys viewing a similar texture field with a hole, the responses of extrastriate visual neurons with receptive fields covering the hole increase gradually to a level comparable to that elicited by the same texture without a hole. The time course of these dynamic changes in activity parallels the time course of perceived filling-in of the hole by human observers, suggesting that this process mediates perceptual filling-in.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fixation, Ocular
  • Humans
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Reaction Time
  • Scotoma* / etiology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*