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Disruption of space perception due to cortical lesions

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image of Spatial Vision
For more content, see Multisensory Research and Seeing and Perceiving.

Space control has for a long time been considered a unitary function. The structure associated with this function was the right parietal lobe. Hemispheric specialization for space appeared to make it automatically a human-specific function. However, recent primate research shows different regions of the parietal lobes to be differently involved with space control. A review of the literature, together with own cases shows that there is ample evidence of a modular organization of space control in humans on the basis of specific deficits subsequent to circumscribed cerebral lesions. Lesions influence differentially retinotopic, spatiotopic, egocentric, and allocentric frames of references. They also influence differentially the attention to far or near space, or to global or local features of space. Moreover, preattentive processes can be studied in the neglected hemispace of humans and prove to be sensible to the meaning of visual stimuli. Space representation and attentional mechanisms that seem to operate on these representations are organized in our brain in a very modular fashion, similar to the modularity of visual submodalities. There is probably not a unified space representation in the parietal lobes, but distributed functional modules. Thus, the study of visual optic recognition, either by the brain or by machines, is inconceivable without considering space, attention and awareness.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland


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