Visit the Brains blog over the next couple of weeks to take part in a symposium on Wayne Wu’s “Against Division: Consciousness, Information and the Visual Streams”. Commentaries by David Kaplan (Macquarie), Pete Mandik (William Paterson), and Thomas Schenk (Erlangen-Nuremberg).
Wu’s article has just been published in the September 2014 issue of Mind & Language and is free to access until the end of the year.
According to the influential dual systems model of visual processing (Milner & Goodale 1995/2006, Goodale & Milner 2004), information present in the dorsal processing stream does not contribute to the specific contents of conscious visual experience. “Visual phenomenology,” A.D. Milner and Melvyn Goodale write, “can arise only from processing in the ventral stream, processing that we have linked with recognition and perception…. Visual-processing modules in the dorsal stream, despite the complex computations demanded by their role in the control of action, are not normally available to awareness” (Milner & Goodale 1995/2006, 202). In his article, Wayne argues that certain types of information arising in the dorsal stream, contrary to Milner and Goodale, do play a role in realizing the contents of visual experience. In particular, he argues that information carried in dorsal stream areas such as VIP and LIP support awareness of visual spatial constancy across saccadic eye-movements. Wayne also adduces evidence that dorsal stream areas play a role in conscious visual motion and depth perception.