Visual selection and action in Balint's syndrome

Cogn Neuropsychol. 2002 Jul 1;19(5):445-62. doi: 10.1080/02643290244000022.


We examined the relations between attention and action in a patient with Balint's syndrome following bilateral damage involving the parietal lobes. The first two experiments used prolonged stimulus exposures and showed that unlike normals, the patient GK made independent actions to bilateral stimuli, even when explicitly instructed to make coordinated reaches. In contrast, bimanual actions to a single stimulus were coordinated in time. Experiments 3 and 4 employed reduced stimulus exposures to produce visual extinction. We found comparable extinction effects in detection and action, along with improved bimanual movements when the stimuli were grouped by collinearity and surface contrast, plus better coordination with bilateral stimuli proximity. The results are discussed in relation to the common role of visual selection processes in perception and action.