Stimulus context in hemineglect

Academic Article


  • Rightward deviation on bisection of a horizontal line is well described in patients with right brain injury and left hemineglect. Because of the observation that hemineglect patients may bisect very short lines to the left of the true midpoint (the so-called crossover effect), additional models have been proposed to incorporate this finding into existing theories of hemineglect. We investigated a line-length effect in six patients with left hemineglect. When presented with any set of lines of uniform (reference) length, percentage rightward deviation on line bisection remained constant across different line lengths. When lines of a second length were mixed into any uniform set of lines, bisection performance on the reference lines changed. A rightward shift in the perceived midpoint of the reference line occurred if the added lines were shorter than the reference lines; a leftward shift occurred if the added lines were longer. Leftward shifts included shifts across the true midpoint, reproducing the crossover effect. Shifts in the perceived midpoint occurred both on a manual line bisection task and on a line bisection discrimination task in which no manual response was required. We propose that the crossover effect may be part of a more general stimulus-context effect in which the perceived midpoint of a line is related not to absolute length, but to the line's length relative to other lines with which it is presented. Such a context effect has not hitherto been described in the neglect syndrome. A possible mechanism for the effect is a generalization of length estimation produced by the combined influence of the focal stimulus and all stimuli that precede it.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Marshall RS; Lazar RM; Krakauer JW; Sharma R
  • Start Page

  • 2003
  • End Page

  • 2010
  • Volume

  • 121
  • Issue

  • 10