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A kinematic analysis of distractor interference effects during visually guided action in spatial neglect

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2001

LOUISE A. CORBEN
Affiliation:
Department of Occupational Therapy, Monash Medical Centre, 246 Clayton Road, Clayton, Victoria 3168, Australia
JASON B. MATTINGLEY
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, School of Behavioural Science, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
JOHN L. BRADSHAW
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia

Abstract

Patients with left spatial neglect following right hemisphere damage may show anomalies in ipsilesional-limb movements directed to targets on their affected side, in addition to their characteristic perceptual deficits. In this study we examined the extent to which visually guided movements made by neglect patients are susceptible to interference from concurrent visual distractors on the contralesional or ipsilesional side of a designated target. Eleven right hemisphere patients with visual neglect, plus 11 matched healthy controls, performed a double-step movement task upon a digitizing tablet, using their ipsilesional hand to respond. On each double-step trial the first component of the movement was cued to a common central target, whereas the second component was cued unpredictably to a target on either the contralesional or ipsilesional side. On separate trials lateral targets either appeared alone or together with a concurrent distractor in an homologous location in the opposite hemispace. In addition to being significantly slower and more error prone than controls, neglect patients also exhibited a number of interference effects from ipsilesional distractors. They often failed to move to left targets in the presence of a right-sided distractor, or else they moved to the distractor itself rather than to a contralesional target. The initial accelerative phase of their movements to contralesional targets tended to be interrupted prematurely, and they spent significantly more time in the terminal guidance phase of movements to contralesional targets in the presence of an ipsilesional distractor. In contrast, contralesional distractors had little effect on patients' movements to ipsilesional targets. We conclude that right hemisphere damage induces a competitive bias that favors actions to ipsilesional targets. This bias affects multiple stages of processing within the visuomotor system, from initial programming through to the final stages of terminal guidance. (JINS, 2001, 7, 334–343)

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2001 The International Neuropsychological Society

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