The response delay to left target stimuli preceded by right-side cues, first described by Posner et al. [J. Neurosci. 4 (1984) 1863-1874] appears to be a stable marker of right-parietal injury. However, only few studies compared patients' performance to age-matched controls. Furthermore, only few studies compared visual and auditory stimuli in this task. Therefore, two groups of right-hemisphere stroke patients, with and without left visual hemineglect, and a healthy control group were studied in three versions of Posner's paradigm. Visual or auditory target stimuli were presented to the subject's left or right, following a visual or auditory cue by 150 ms. The classical 'extinction-type' effect, an increase in missing responses for right visual cue/left visual target, was specifically observed in neglect patients. In the same condition, an 'extinction-type' response delay was present in patients with neglect and in those without neglect. No such delay occurred in any group when cues were auditory. Specifically in neglect patients, response times were generally longer for left than for right visual targets, regardless of cue side and of cue modality. Response times were generally prolonged in neglect patients regardless of target modality. This suggests that three components impair neglect patients' performance in this paradigm: a non-spatial, supramodal deficit, a global, neglect-type deficit of the contralesional hemi-field, and the extinction-type impairment. The latter two deficits appear to be most marked within the visual domain.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)