Visual Reflections: A Perceptual Deficit and Its Implications

Michael McCloskey

Research output: Book/ReportBook

17 Scopus citations


How much can we learn about normal visual perception and cognition from a malfunctioning visual system? Quite a lot, as this book makes abundantly clear. This book presents the author's work with AH, who is a college student who has an extraordinary deficit in visual perception. When AH looks at an object, she sees it clearly and identifies it readily; yet she is often dramatically mistaken about where the object is or how it is oriented. For example, she may reach out to grasp an object that she sees on her left, but miss it completely because it is actually on her right; or she may see an arrow pointing up when it is really pointing down. AH's errors, together with many other clues, lead the book to some very interesting conclusions about how we perceive the world. It develops theoretical claims about visual subsystems, the nature of visual location and orientation representations, attention and spatial representations, the role of the visual system in mental imagery, and the levels of the visual system implicated in awareness. This book makes a fascinating and compelling case that we can often learn more about a process when it goes awry than when it functions flawlessly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages320
ISBN (Electronic)9780199871513
ISBN (Print)9780195168693
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • Attention
  • Cognition
  • Malfunctioning visual systems
  • Mental imagery
  • Orientation representations
  • Spatial representations
  • Visual location
  • Visual perception
  • Visual subsystems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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