Graphesthesia: A test of graphemic movement representations or tactile imagery?

Academic Article


  • Patients with corticobasal degeneration (CBG) often demonstrate agraphesthesia in the same hand they demonstrate apraxia. To recognize letters written in their hand subjects can develop a spatial representation and access graphemic representations. Alternatively, people can use movement working memory and match movement patterns to stored letter movement representations. To learn the method normally used without vision, normal subjects (12) had letters written on their palm either in the normal manner or in a reverse direction. If letters written on the hand are recognized by their spatial features (as when visually reading) direction should not influence letter recognition, but if letters written on the hand are recognized by movement patterns, then in the reverse condition recognition should be impaired. When letters were written normally there were no differences in error between the tactile and visual modality. When letters were written in reverse, however, normal subjects made more errors in the tactile than visual condition. Normally, people identify letters written on their hand by covertly copying (mirroring) the examiner and then access letter movement representations. This might explain why patients with CBG often have agraphesthesia associated with apraxia. (JINS, 2010, 16, 190193.) © The International Neuropsychological Society 2009.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Drago V; Foster PS; Edward D; Wargovich B; Heilman KM
  • Start Page

  • 190
  • End Page

  • 193
  • Volume

  • 16
  • Issue

  • 1