Neural plasticity following lesions of the primate occipital lobe: The marmoset as an animal model for studies of blindsight

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For nearly a century it has been observed that some residual visually guided behavior can persist after damage to the primary visual cortex (V1) in primates. The age at which damage to V1 occurs leads to different outcomes, with V1 lesions in infancy allowing better preservation of visual faculties in comparison with those incurred in adulthood. While adult V1 lesions may still allow retention of some limited visual abilities, these are subconscious—a characteristic that has led to this form of residual vision being referred to as blindsight. The neural basis of blindsight has been of great interest to the neuroscience community, with particular focus on understanding the contributions of the different subcortical pathways and cortical areas that may underlie this phenomenon. More recently, research has started to address which forms of neural plasticity occur following V1 lesions at different ages, including work using marmoset monkeys. The relatively rapid postnatal development of this species, allied to the lissencephalic brains and well-characterized visual cortex provide significant technical advantages, which allow controlled experiments exploring visual function in the absence of V1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-327
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Neurobiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • lateral geniculate nucleus
  • pulvinar
  • V1
  • V1 lesion
  • visual cortex

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