Kinematics of goal-directed arm movements in neglect: control of hand in space

Neuropsychologia. 1997 Apr;35(4):435-44. doi: 10.1016/s0028-3932(96)00118-2.


The present study investigated unrestrained, three-dimensional arm movements during goal-directed pointing in five patients with clinically manifest neglect to targets positioned either in the center or the left and right hemispace. Five patients with unilateral right hemispheric lesions without neglect and six healthy subjects served as controls. All subjects were able to point to these targets. Terminal accuracy of pointing did not differ between the three groups along the horizontal, vertical and anterior-posterior axis. Subjects' hand trajectories did not reveal direction-specific deviations from a straightline hand path. Our data show that deviations in the trajectories toward the ipsilesional side are not characteristic for patients with spatial neglect. We argue that exploratory and goal-directed motor behavior might not share the same egocentric, body-centered reference frame. A spatial reference frame for exploratory behavior is disturbed in patients with neglect resulting in a failure to explore the contralesional part of space by eye or limb movements. Its failure does not induce a spatial bias in hand trajectory formation during goal-directed arm movements in peripersonal space. Such deviations of reaching or pointing rather seem to be characteristic for patients with optic ataxia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arm / physiology*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Brain Diseases / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology