The anatomy of spatial neglect

Neuropsychologia. 2012 May;50(6):1010-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.06.027. Epub 2011 Jul 2.


Spatial neglect is often perceived as a "heterogeneous collection of symptoms" with controversial anatomical correlates. However, a clear framework for core and satellite symptoms exists. Here we review the literature when viewed from the perspective of these different syndromes, and find clear pattern of anatomical injury. Specifically, the combined symptoms of biased gaze direction and search - with no awareness of these symptoms-is seen following structural damage to (particularly right hemisphere) perisylvian regions. Object centered deficits such as biased line bisection are due to more posterior (and possibly inferior) injury. Finally, extinction is associated with damage to the temporo-parietal junction. Further, we describe key choices that must be made to parse the spatial and attentional syndromes that result from right hemisphere injury, including the investigation of both acute and chronic injury as well as the use of functional and structural modalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Extinction, Psychological
  • Functional Laterality*
  • Humans
  • Perceptual Disorders / pathology*
  • Perceptual Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Space Perception / physiology*