Perceptual filling-in - How does the visual system fill-in blind spots or gaps in vision? The brain seems to rely on constructive processes to infer what contours or patterns might be present in the world, even if there is nothing physically present in that portion of the image. As an example, look at the two brain halves in the figure; do you have the impression of ghostly bars extending across the black background? If you cover the two brains from view, you will see that the middle region is really blank, nonetheless, our visual system seems to actively fill-in these gaps.

Our behavioral and fMRI studies suggest that perceptual filling-in is an active time-dependent process that involves neural filling-in of activity in early visual areas, including V1.

Relevant Publications

Meng, M., Remus, D. R., & Tong, F. (2005). Filling-in of visual phantoms in the human brain. Nature Neuroscience, 8, 1248-1254.

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Awater, H., Kerlin, J. K., Evans, K. K., & Tong, F. (2005). Cortical representation of space around the blind spot. Journal of Neurophysiology, 94, 3314-3324.

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Meng, M., Ferneyhough, E., Tong, F. (2007). Dynamics of perceptual filling-in of visual phantoms revealed by binocular rivalry. Journal of Vision, 7(13):8, 1-15.

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