Assessment of unilateral spatial neglect: scoring star cancellation performance from video recordings--method, reliability, benefits, and normative data

Neuropsychology. 2009 Jul;23(4):519-28. doi: 10.1037/a0015413.


Unilateral spatial neglect, a debilitating condition affecting awareness of one side of space, is commonly assessed using cancellation tasks in which patients cross out targets distributed over a sheet. Standard scores emphasize the left-right distribution of omissions. Here, the additional value of extracting temporal as well as spatial aspects of performance from video recordings was examined. Videos from 18 patients with left neglect and 19 healthy age-matched control participants were obtained. Interrater reliability of the video analysis was high. In addition to overall differences in target detection and bias, patients significantly differed from the control group in terms of the location of first cancellation, overall slowness, greater variability in speed, systematic slowing with time on task and as a function of target location, less coherent search organization, and a sharply increased tendency to recancel targets. Considering a subset of patients whose scores, by standard criteria, were at or near the normal range indicated that these additional variables indeed increased the sensitivity of the task as well as allowed the simultaneous assessment of spatial and nonspatial aspects of the disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Perceptual Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Perceptual Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Video Recording / methods*