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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 72:73-76 doi:10.1136/jnnp.72.1.73
  • Paper

Effects of left parietal injury on covert orienting of attention

  1. U Castiello1,2,
  2. M Paine2,3
  1. 1Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, UK
  2. 2Department of Clinical Neuroscience, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
  3. 3Neuro-Ophthalmology Clinic, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr U Castiello, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, UK;
 u.castiello{at}rhul.ac.uk
  • Received 18 April 2001
  • Accepted 6 July 2001
  • Revised 6 July 2001

Abstract

Objective: To assess the effects of left parietal injury on covert visual attention during a detection task and a pointing task.

Methods: The Posner's paradigm was given to a patient who was found at the age of 74 to have spent all his life without the left parietal lobe as a result of a congenital perinatal insult and to a control subject. In one session subjects were required to provide an arbitrary response at stimulus appearance (key press). In another session subjects were required to point to the stimulus.

Results: The patient was able to disengage covert attention from a cued position when the task was to provide an arbitrary key press response in a similar fashion to a control subject with no neurological deficits. By contrast, he was impaired in disengaging attention from a cued position when the task was to reprogramme an overt pointing action.

Conclusions: Response to cued information is differentially available depending on task. It is suggested that mechanisms concerned with the attention for action systems are located within the left parietal lobe.

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