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2007 | 3 | 1-2 | 125-152

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The role of feedback in visual masking and visual processing

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This paper reviews the potential role of feedback in visual masking, for and against. Our analysis reveals constraints for feedback mechanisms that limit their potential role in visual masking, and in all other general brain functions. We propose a feedforward model of visual masking and provide a hypothesis to explain the role of feedback in visual masking and visual processing in general. We review the anatomy and physiology of feedback mechanisms, and propose that the massive ratio of feedback versus feedforward connections in the visual system may be explained solely by the critical need for top-down attentional modulation. We discuss the merits of visual masking as a tool to discover the neural correlates of consciousness, especially as compared to other popular illusions, such as binocular rivalry. Finally, we propose a new set of neurophysiological standards needed to establish whether any given neuron or brain circuit may be the neural substrate of awareness.








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  • Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, USA
  • Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, USA


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