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Dissociating mental transformations and visuo‐spatial storage in working memory: Evidence from representational neglect

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A study is reported of visuo-spatial working memory in two individuals suffering from a cognitive deficit known as unilateral spatial neglect, and seven healthy control participants. Both patients have difficulties reporting details on the left side of imaged representations, and one has an additional difficulty with perceptual input to the left of his body midline. All participants were asked to report the location and identity of objects presented in novel 2 × 2 arrays that were either present throughout or were described orally by the experimenter, with no visual input. On half of the trials, the report was to be made from the opposite perspective, requiring 180 degree mental rotation of the mentally represented array. The patients show an impaired ability to report details from the presented or the imagined left, but had no difficulty with mental rotation. Results point to a clear separation between the processes of perception and those of visuo-spatial working memory. Results also suggest that the patients might be suffering from damage to the system used for holding visuo-spatial representations rather than a difficulty with attending to elements of that representation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: LIMSI‐CNRS, Orsay, France

Publication date: April 1, 2005

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