Some highlights of the ongoing study of visuospatial cognition from Descartes to the advent of functional neuroimaging are reviewed. We emphasize that parietal cortex contains multiple representations of space, appropriate to the demands of perception and action in near and far space. Converging evidence from the behavioral effects of relatively focal brain lesions on different aspects of spatial cognition and from the locus of maximal physiological activation when normal volunteers perform spatial tasks is described. Clinical pathologies of spatial attention, including visual extinction, simultanagnosia, and unilateral neglect, are examined for the light they cast on the basic functions of brain circuits involving the parietal lobes.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.