When left-neglect patients are required to extend horizontal segments to double their original length, relative left overextension is frequently observed. Less frequently, relative left underextension may also be found. It was hypothesized that this contrast could depend on the degree of horizontal anisometry of the medium for the representation of spatial properties. The present paper reports an experiment conducted in order to test that hypothesis, on the basis of which left overextension should be larger with shorter than with longer segments (...) and with segments lying in the right rather than in the left hemispace. Although supportive, the results unveiled unexpected complications: the expected effect of line length was found only in neglect patients with frontal damage, while the expected effect of side of presentation was found only in neglect patients without frontal damage. (shrink)
Ninety-one right brain-damaged patients with left neglect and 43 right brain-damaged patients without neglect were asked to extend horizontal segments, either left- or rightward, starting from their right or left endpoints, respectively. Earlier experiments based on similar tasks had shown, in left neglect patients, a tendency to overextend segments toward the left side. This seemingly paradoxical phenomenon was held to undermine current explanations of unilateral neglect. The results of the present extensive research demonstrate that contralesional overextension is also evident in (...) most right brain-damaged patients without contralesional neglect. Furthermore, they show that in a minority of left neglect patients, the opposite behavior, i.e., right overextension can be found. The paper also reports the results of correlational analyses comprising the parameters of line-extension, line-bisection, and cancellation tasks, as well as the parameters relative to the Milner Landmark Task, by which a distinction is drawn between perceptual and response biases in unilateral neglect. A working hypothesis is then advanced about the brain dysfunction underlying neglect and an attempt is made at finding an explanation of neglect and the links between the mechanisms of space representation and consciousness through the study of the changes induced by unilateral brain lesions in the characteristics of space-coding neurons. Abbreviations: C, control group;GN+91,full group of neglect patients;GN+27,group of neglect patients with relative left overextension;GN+14,group of neglect patients with relative right overextension;GN-43,full group of non-neglect patients;GN-9,group of non-neglect patients with relative left overextension; H canc, H cancellation task; LE, left extension; LE/RE, ratio of left-right extension; N+, neglect patients; N-, non-neglect patients; PB Land-M, perceptual bias on Landmark motor task; PB Land-V, perceptual bias on Landmark verbal task; RB Land-M, response bias on Landmark motor task; RB Land-V, response bias on Landmark verbal task; RE, right extension. (shrink)
The significance of consciousness in modern science is discussed by leading authorities from a variety of disciplines. Presenting a wide-ranging survey of current thinking on this important topic, the contributors address such issues as the status of different aspects of consciousness; the criteria for using the concept of consciousness and identifying instances of it; the basis of consciousness in functional brain organization; the relationship between different levels of theoretical discourse; and the functions of consciousness.