Adaptation as a Tool for Probing the Neural Correlates of Visual Awareness: Progress and Precautions

Randolph Blake, Sheng He

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

9 Scopus citations


Adaptation within sensory systems broadens the dynamic range of those systems, making it possible for organisms to function efficiently over a wide variety of environmental conditions. To maximize efficiency sensory adaptation is characteristically 'selective' for different stimulus attributes, as it should be in order to promote adaptive changes in neural representations of environmental stimuli. This chapter considers several simple but potentially revealing questions about adaptation aftereffects, and interrelated questions that attempt to get at the neural bases of perceptual awareness: What happens when a visual adapting stimulus falls outside of conscious awareness for a substantial portion of the adaptation period, thereby dissociating phenomenal perception from physical stimulation? What transpires within the visual nervous system when a given stimulus takes on different appearances owing to visual adaptation?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFitting the Mind to the World
Subtitle of host publicationAdaptation and After-Effects in High-Level Vision
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191689697
ISBN (Print)9780198529699
StatePublished - May 5 2005


  • Adaptation aftereffects
  • Environmental stimuli
  • Neural correlates
  • Sensory systems
  • Visual adaptation
  • Visual awareness


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