Simultanagnosia: A defect of sustained attention yields insights on visual information processing

Matthew Rizzo, Donald A. Robin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Simultanagnosia, in which subjects report a piecemeal visual experience, offers an important probe of human attention. We studied 2 subjects with simultanagnosia following bilateral superior occipital strokes. Compared with controls, they could orient attention to spatial targets in visual, auditory, and mixed-modal conditions. A different task required immediate response to the appearance or disappearance at unpredictable intervals of any element in a random-dot CRT display. The subject tested could detect less than 50% of 1,600 events, and had increased "mirages" and prolonged reaction times. Undetected events occurred anywhere and formed temporal clusters. Application of signal-detection theory confirmed abnormal sensitivity and response bias (d′ and beta). Yet performance improved when a valid cue introduced events in the random display. Our results suggest that simultanagnosia was related to an inability to sustain visuospatial attention across an array, corresponding to processing failure at a level of long-range (global) spatiotemporal interactions among converging inputs from early vision. The operations for orienting and sustaining attention may be dissociable at visual association cortex levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-455
Number of pages9
JournalNeurology
Volume40
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1990
Externally publishedYes

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Automatic Data Processing
Visual Cortex
Reaction Time
Cues
Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Simultanagnosia : A defect of sustained attention yields insights on visual information processing. / Rizzo, Matthew; Robin, Donald A.

In: Neurology, Vol. 40, No. 3, 03.1990, p. 447-455.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rizzo, Matthew ; Robin, Donald A. / Simultanagnosia : A defect of sustained attention yields insights on visual information processing. In: Neurology. 1990 ; Vol. 40, No. 3. pp. 447-455.
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