See Inside April/May 2007

Put Your Money Where Your Mind Is

We do not notice many tasks that our brains perform, whereas we are completely aware of others. But it is sometimes hard for neuroscientists to determine when we are conscious of our actions. Now a group of British researchers is betting that betting can be used to study consciousness.

Navindra Persaud, Peter McLeod and Alan Cowey of the University of Oxford were interested in situations in which people can show high levels of cognitive performance with no apparent awareness. In one experiment, they studied a person known as GY, who, because of damage to his visual cortex, reports no vision in his right eye. But GY has a strange ability known as blindsight: he can guess with reasonable accuracy whether or not a symbol is shown to that eye, even though he reports no awareness of seeing it. The question has remained whether at some level he is conscious of his performance.

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content

It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Scientific American Mind Digital

Get 6 bi-monthly digital issues
+ 1yr of archive access for just $9.99

Hurry this offer ends soon! >


Email this Article


Next Article