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Right hemisphere contributions to attention and intention
  1. Neuropsychology Research Unit, Department of Psychology, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3168, Australia. Telephone 0061 3 9905 3980; fax 0061 3 9905 3948;

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    One of the hallmarks of circumscribed brain damage is that behaviour is selectively impaired for just a subset of cognitive abilities. A frequent concomitant of acute damage to the right hemisphere in humans is the disorder of unilateral neglect, in which patients lose awareness for sensory events arising from the left (contralesional) side of space. Such neglect has been attributed to an impairment of selective attention, the capacity by which relevant sensory inputs get selected from competing irrelevant ones for further processing by the brain. Contralesional sensory events that are not selectively attended generally elude the patients’ awareness, as sometimes happens with neurologically healthy people when they miss relevant target information from one location if distracted by a salient, but irrelevant, event elsewhere.

    Despite recent progress in understanding neglect, several important questions remain: Does neglect only impair processing …

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