The Achromatic ‘Philosophical Zombie’, a Syndrome of Cerebral Achromatopsia with Color Anopsognosia

The Achromatic ‘Philosophical Zombie’, a Syndrome of Cerebral Achromatopsia with Color Anopsognosia.

We describe a patient with persistent cerebral achromatopsia occurring after bilateral occipital strokes. Blinded color recognition was assessed with a computerized experimental paradigm and the patient reported the degree of confidence in the response exactness on a visual percent scale. Color recognition was accurate and above chance (Fisher’s exact test, p < 0.002). The degree of confidence in the answers showed a significant correlation with recognition scores (Spearman rank order correlation, p < 0.0001). These findings constitute the exceptional condition of what we called color anopsognosia (not knowing of seeing colors) and recall the theoretic figure of the ‘philosophical zombie’. However, the cognitive mechanisms of the dissociation between a subjective colorless vision and good performance for color naming still remain poorly understood.

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