August 2009
Volume 9, Issue 8
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2009
Visuospatial neglect: Reflexive but not volitional orienting contributes to a disengage deficit
Author Affiliations
  • Bettina Olk
    School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany
  • Alan Kingstone
    Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Journal of Vision August 2009, Vol.9, 128. doi:
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      Bettina Olk, Alan Kingstone; Visuospatial neglect: Reflexive but not volitional orienting contributes to a disengage deficit. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):128.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Patients with visuospatial neglect and/or extinction respond much more slowly to a stimulus presented to their impaired, contralesional side of space when it is preceded by a stimulus presented to the intact, ipsilesional side of space. This response pattern is referred to as a disengage deficit, indicating that attention is slow to be disengaged from ipsilesional stimuli. Past studies have measured the disengage deficit for reflexive orienting (nonpredictive peripheral onsets) and volitional orienting (predictive central arrows). Recent evidence that nonpredictive arrows engage reflexive attention, however, implies that past studies using predictive arrows confounded reflexive and volitional attention. We therefore examined the disengage deficit in the same participants for when an attention cue engages only reflexive attention (nonpredictive peripheral onsets and arrow cues), reflexive and volitional attention (predictive peripheral onsets and arrow cues), and only volitional attention (predictive number cues). Results indicate that the significant disengage deficit for reflexive orienting (nonpredictive onsets and arrows) was unmoved when volitional attention was also engaged (predictive onsets and arrows), suggesting that volitional orienting does not contribute to disengage difficulties. This interpretation was confirmed when only volitional attention was manipulated by predictive number cues: significant cuing effects for contra- and ipsilesional fields were observed but there was no disengage deficit. The results are discussed with respect to their implications for understanding the attentional mechanisms underlying the disengage deficit as well as its assessment and rehabilitation in patient populations.

Olk, B. Kingstone, A. (2009). Visuospatial neglect: Reflexive but not volitional orienting contributes to a disengage deficit [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 9(8):128, 128a,, doi:10.1167/9.8.128. [CrossRef]
 This work was supported by grants from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) awarded to B. Olk and by Canadian grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council awarded to A. Kingstone.

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