On The Filling In Of The Visual Blind Spot: Some Rules Of Thumb

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In monocular viewing there is a region in the peripheral visual field that is blind owing to the absence of photoreceptors at the site where the optic nerve exits the eye. This region, like certain other blind spots, nonetheless appears filled in. Several novel demonstrations of filling in at the blind spot have recently been reported. Here the implications of many of these effects are critically reevaluated. Specifically, it is argued that many blind-spot phenomena taken to support early filling in (eg pop out and alteration in apparent motion) are actually consistent with the thesis that the visual blind spot is treated by early perceptual processing as a region of reduced or absent information. In support of this, it is shown that many perceptual effects observed in blind-spot completion are similar in detail to the amodally perceived completion of partly occluded objects viewed somewhat peripherally. The goals were to point out striking similarities between blind-spot completion and the amodal completion of occluded parts of surfaces, and to provide a common theoretical framework for understanding these phenomena in the context of surface segregation and perceptual interpolation.


This work is freely available courtesy of Pion: Perception.