Edited by Luiz Pessoa and Peter De Weerd

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780195140132
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199865307 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Psychology Series


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A well-known example of filling-in involves the blind spot, a region in the back of the eye that is devoid of photoreceptors. The term blind spot is somewhat of a misnomer, because the corresponding region of visual space is not simply perceived as dark, as one would expect. Instead, it is “filled-in” with the same color and texture as the surrounding background. This phenomenon is often considered as little more than a curiosity. However, this book argues that completion mechanisms similar to those that fill in the blind spot are pervasive and necessary for normal perception. The book reviews evidence suggesting a link between particular neural processes and the perception of filling-in. It then introduces the idea that these processes can instigate various types of long-term neural plasticity, which may underlie recovery and rehabilitation after peripheral injury, as well as other types of skill learning. The connection between completion phenomena and long-term plasticity is explored not only in the visual system, but also in the auditory, somatosensory, and motor systems.

Keywords: blind spot; photoreceptors; visual space; color; texture; perception; auditory system; somatosensory system; motor system

Book.  368 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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