Visual background motion reduces size distortion in spatial neglect

Neuroreport. 1999 Feb 5;10(2):319-23. doi: 10.1097/00001756-199902050-00021.


Patients with visual neglect show deficits in horizontal size perception in their neglected hemispace, as previously reported. The present study examined whether this size distortion can be modulated by visual background motion to the left or right while the patient performs a visual size judgment task. Six neglect patients and six normal subjects were investigated with a psychophysical size judgment task. All neglect patients showed a significant perceptual underestimation of horizontal bars in their left hemispace expressed as an overestimation of horizontal object size in the baseline (no motion) condition. Slow visual motion of background stimuli towards the right, ipsilesional side aggravated the deficit slightly, but not significantly, whereas leftward background motion completely normalized the size distortion (in four cases) or even led to an overcompensation (in two cases). This facilitatory effect was specific as it was obvious for the constant errors in the size judgments, but not in their accuracy as reflected by unchanged difference thresholds. These results suggest that coherent background motion restores temporarily the disturbed perception and representation of horizontal object size in spatial neglect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology
  • Visual Fields / physiology