The phenomenon of perceptual filling-in demonstrates that physical stimuli presented on the retina do not necessarily correspond to surface perception, and that our visual system has mechanisms with which to interpolate missing information in order to construct continuous surfaces. Among its various forms, filling-in at the blind spot is one of the most remarkable. To study the neural mechanisms involved in filling-in at the blind spot, we recently conducted a recording experiment aimed at determining whether the neurons in the primary visual cortex (V1) that represent the visual field corresponding to the blind spot are activated when filling-in occurs. We found that neurons located in deep layers of the V1, particularly layer 6, respond to large stimuli that cover the blind spot and induce perceptual filling-in. These neurons tended to have very large receptive fields, which extended out of the blind spot, and preferred relatively large stimuli. We believe that neurons in the V1 region representing the blind spot encode information essential for perceptual filling-in at the blind spot.
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