Visual hypo and hypergnosia as exemplars of poles of psychic tonus in the occipital lobes: multiple case analyses

Behav Neurol. 2008;19(4):153-68. doi: 10.1155/2008/139436.


The "psychic tonus" model or PTM [1] of hemispheric specialization states that the left hemisphere is a psychic and behavioral activator and that the right hemisphere is an inhibitor. The PTM predicts that the tonus of visual representation ought to manifest hemispheric specialization in the occipital lobes. Specifically PTM predicts that pathological positive visual tonus (visual hallucination) ought to be associated more frequently with right occipital lesions. PTM also predicts that pathological negative visual tonus (loss of visual imagery) ought to result more often from left occipital lesions. We reviewed 78 cases of post lesion hallucination and 12 cases of post lesion loss of evocation of images, all following a unilateral lesion. Analyses of these relevant previously published cases support the predictions. In accordance with previously published demonstrations of hemispheric specialization for auditory tonus in the temporal lobes and for somesthetic tonus in the parietal lobes, the present findings extend the psychic tonus model of hemispheric specialization to vision in the occipital lobes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dominance, Cerebral*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Occipital Lobe / pathology
  • Occipital Lobe / physiology*
  • Perceptual Disorders / pathology
  • Perceptual Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Psychological Theory
  • Visual Perception / physiology*