Limited Restoration of Contrast Sensitivity with Training after V1 Damage in Humans

Jingyi Yang, Elizabeth L. Saionz, Matthew R. Cavanaugh, Berkeley K. Fahrenthold, Michael D. Melnick, Duje Tadin, Farran Briggs, Marisa Carrasco, Krystel R. Huxlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stroke damage to the primary visual cortex (V1) causes severe visual deficits, which benefit from perceptual retraining. However, whereas training with high-contrast stimuli can locally restore orientation and motion direction discrimination abilities at trained locations, it only partially restores luminance contrast sensitivity (CS). Recent work revealed that high-contrast discrimination abilities may be preserved in the blind field of some patients early after stroke. Here, we asked if CS for orientation and direction discrimination is similarly preserved inside the blind field, to what extent, and whether it could benefit from a visual training intervention. Thirteen subacute patients (<3 months post-V1 stroke) and 12 chronic patients (>6 months post-V1 stroke) were pretested and then trained to discriminate either orientation or motion direction of Gabor patches of progressively lower contrasts as their performance improved. At baseline, more subacute than chronic participants could correctly discriminate the orientation of high-contrast Gabors in their blind field, but all failed to perform this task at lower contrasts, even when 10 Hz flicker or motion direction were added. Training improved CS in a greater portion of subacute than that of chronic participants, but no one attained normal CS, even when stimuli contained flicker or motion. We conclude that, unlike the near-complete training-induced restoration of high-contrast visual discrimination abilities, V1 damage in adulthood may severely limit the residual visual system’s ability to regain normal CS. Our results support the notion that CS involves different neural substrates and computations than those required for orientation and direction discrimination in V1-damaged visual systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberENEURO.0020-24.2024
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • blindness
  • direction
  • discrimination
  • hemianopia
  • orientation
  • perceptual learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Limited Restoration of Contrast Sensitivity with Training after V1 Damage in Humans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this