Paralysed and unaware of it – Brain lesions and anosognosia

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Dunning-Kruger effect which affects people who are so incompetent that they don’t realise that they are incompetent. Dr David Dunning, after whom the effect is named, described the Dunning-Kruger effect as the “anosognosia of everyday life”. Which, as far as scientific analogies go, is a pretty good way of putting it. Unless you don’t know what anosognosia is. But don’t worry, I’m just about to tell you.

Blindsight – Not knowing you can see

There are some people that can respond to visual stimuli even though they are blind. They can’t consciously see, yet they can unconsciously avoid obstacles. This phenomenon is called blindsight. The people who have it have had lesions to their primary visual cortex, rendering them blind. However, even though they can’t see, they can guess what it’s in front of them at a much higher accuracy than chance.