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Preserved obstacle avoidance during reaching in patients with left visual neglect

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Daniel Birchall


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We asked 12 patients with left visual neglect to bisect the gap between two cylinders or to reach rapidly between them to a more distal target zone. Both tasks demanded a motor response but these responses were quite different in nature. The bisection response was a communicative act whereby the patient indicated the perceived midpoint. The reaching task carried no imperative to bisect the gap, only to maintain a safe distance from either cylinder while steering to the target zone. Optimal performance on either task could only be achieved by reference to the location of both cylinders. Our analysis focused upon the relative influence of the left and right cylinders on the lateral location of the response. In the bisection task, all neglect patients showed qualitatively the same asymmetry, with the left cylinder exerting less influence than the right. In the reaching task, the neglect group behaved like normal subjects, being influenced approximately equally by the two cylinders. This was true for all bar two of the patients, who showed clear neglect in both tasks. We conclude that the visuomotor processing underlying obstacle avoidance during reaching is preserved in most patients with left visual neglect. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McIntosh RD, McClements KI, Dijkerman HC, Birchall D, Milner AD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Neuropsychologia

Year: 2004

Volume: 42

Issue: 8

Pages: 1107-1117

ISSN (print): 0028-3932

ISSN (electronic): 1873-3514

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2003.11.023


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