Tactile exploration of peripersonal space in patients with neglect

Neuroreport. 1998 Jul 13;9(10):2273-7. doi: 10.1097/00001756-199807130-00024.


Recent studies investigated the pattern of visual exploration along the horizontal axis in patients with neglect. They found a deviated distribution of activity with the centre shifted -15 degrees to the right of the body's mid-sagittal plane. The present study reports comparable observations concerning tactile exploration of space in neglect. We found the whole distribution of patients' exploratory hand movements shifted towards the right. The median activity lay 17.7 cm right of the body's mid-sagittal plane. The frequency of tactile exploration decreased towards the periphery of peripersonal space on the right and the left side. The findings are in clear contrast to the predictions of the attentional gradient model of neglect. They rather favour a deviation of the whole frame for exploratory behaviour towards a new equilibrium on the right. The character of this frame appears to be supramodal in that it determines the distribution of exploratory movements irrespective of whether the subject explores the surround visually or tactually.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Hand / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology
  • Touch / physiology*