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Representational neglect for words as revealed by bisection tasks

Authors

  • Lisa S. Arduino,

    Corresponding author
    1. LUMSA University, Rome, Italy
    2. Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies - National Research Council, Rome, Italy
      Correspondence should be addressed to Lisa S. Arduino, LUMSA University, P.zza delle Vaschette 101, 00193 Roma, Italy. (e-mail: l.arduino@lumsa.it).
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  • Chiara Valeria Marinelli,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Roma ‘La Sapienza’, Rome, Italy
    2. Istituto di Ricerca e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Foundation Hospital Santa Lucia, Rome, Italy
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  • Fabrizio Pasotti,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Pavia, Italy
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  • Elisa Raffaella Ferrè,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Pavia, Italy
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  • Gabriella Bottini

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Pavia, Italy
    2. Cognitive Neuropsychology Centre, Hospital Niguarda Ca' Granda, Milan, Italy
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Correspondence should be addressed to Lisa S. Arduino, LUMSA University, P.zza delle Vaschette 101, 00193 Roma, Italy. (e-mail: l.arduino@lumsa.it).

Abstract

In the present study, we showed that a representational disorder for words can dissociate from both representational neglect for objects and neglect dyslexia. This study involved 14 brain-damaged patients with left unilateral spatial neglect and a group of normal subjects. Patients were divided into four groups based on presence of left neglect dyslexia and representational neglect for non-verbal material, as evaluated by the Clock Drawing test. The patients were presented with bisection tasks for words and lines. The word bisection tasks (with words of five and seven letters) comprised the following: (1) representational bisection: the experimenter pronounced a word and then asked the patient to name the letter in the middle position; (2) visual bisection: same as (1) with stimuli presented visually; and (3) motor bisection: the patient was asked to cross out the letter in the middle position. The standard line bisection task was presented using lines of different length. Consistent with the literature, long lines were bisected to the right and short lines, rendered comparable in length to the words of the word bisection test, deviated to the left (crossover effect). Both patients and controls showed the same leftward bias on words in the visual and motor bisection conditions. A significant difference emerged between the groups only in the case of the representational bisection task, whereas the group exhibiting neglect dyslexia associated with representational neglect for objects showed a significant rightward bias, while the other three patient groups and the controls showed a leftward bisection bias. Neither the presence of neglect alone nor the presence of visual neglect dyslexia was sufficient to produce a specific disorder in mental imagery. These results demonstrate a specific representational neglect for words independent of both representational neglect and neglect dyslexia.

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