Cortical responses to invisible objects in the human dorsal and ventral pathways

Fang Fang, Sheng He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

348 Scopus citations


The primate visual system is believed to comprise two main pathways: a ventral pathway for conscious perception and a dorsal pathway that can process visual information and guide action without accompanying conscious knowledge. Evidence for this theory has come primarily from studies of neurological patients and animals. Using fMRI, we show here that even though observers are completely unaware of test object images owing to interocular suppression, their dorsal cortical areas demonstrate substantial activity for different types of visual objects, with stronger responses to images of tools than of human faces. This result also suggests that in binocular rivalry, substantial information in the suppressed eye can escape the interocular suppression and reach dorsal cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1380-1385
Number of pages6
JournalNature neuroscience
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank S. Murray, S. Cheung and Y. Jiang for their technical assistance and P. Costello for help with the manuscript. This research was supported by the James S. McDonnell foundation, the US National Institutes of Health and the University of Minnesota’s Eva O. Miller Fellowship and Graduate Research Partnership Program Award.

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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