Visually evoked responses from the blind field of hemianopic patients

Javier Sanchez-Lopez, Caterina A. Pedersini, Francesco Di Russo, Nicolò Cardobi, Cristina Fonte, Valentina Varalta, Massimo Prior, Nicola Smania, Silvia Savazzi, Carlo A. Marzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hemianopia is a visual field defect characterized by decreased vision or blindness in the contralesional visual field of both eyes. The presence of well documented above-chance unconscious behavioural responses to visual stimuli presented to the blind hemifield (blindsight) has stimulated a great deal of research on the neural basis of this important phenomenon. The present study is concerned with electrophysiological responses from the blind field. Since previous studies found that transient Visual Evoked Potentials (VEPs) are not entirely suitable for this purpose here we propose to use Steady-State VEPs (SSVEPs). A positive result would have important implications for the understanding of the neural bases of conscious vision. We carried out a passive SSVEP stimulation with healthy participants and hemianopic patients. Stimuli consisted of four black-and-white sinusoidal Gabor gratings presented one in each visual field quadrant and flickering one at a time at a 12. Hz rate. To assess response reliability a Signal-to-Noise Ratio analysis was conducted together with further analyses in time and frequency domains to make comparisons between groups (healthy participants and patients), side of brain lesion (left and right) and visual fields (sighted and blind).The important overall result was that stimulus presentation to the blind hemifield yielded highly reliable responses with time and frequency features broadly similar to those found for cortical extrastriate areas in healthy controls. Moreover, in the intact hemifield of hemianopics and in healthy controls there was evidence of a role of prefrontal structures in perceptual awareness. Finally, the presence of different patterns of brain reorganization depended upon the side of lesion.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2017


  • Extrastriate visual areas
  • Hemianopia
  • Perceptual awareness
  • Steady-state visual evoked potentials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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