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Memory-guided saccade processing in visual form agnosia (patient DF)

Rossit, Stephanie and Szymanek, Larissa and Butler, S.H. and Harvey, M. (2010) Memory-guided saccade processing in visual form agnosia (patient DF). Experimental Brain Research, 200 (1). pp. 109-116. ISSN 0014-4819

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Abstract

According to Milner and Goodale's model (The visual brain in action, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006) areas in the ventral visual stream mediate visual perception and off-line actions, whilst regions in the dorsal visual stream mediate the on-line visual control of action. Strong evidence for this model comes from a patient (DF), who suffers from visual form agnosia after bilateral damage to the ventro-lateral occipital region, sparing V1. It has been reported that she is normal in immediate reaching and grasping, yet severely impaired when asked to perform delayed actions. Here we investigated whether this dissociation would extend to saccade execution. Neurophysiological studies and TMS work in humans have shown that the posterior parietal cortex (PPC), on the right in particular (supposedly spared in DF), is involved in the control of memory-guided saccades. Surprisingly though, we found that, just as reported for reaching and grasping, DF's saccadic accuracy was much reduced in the memory compared to the stimulus-guided condition. These data support the idea of a tight coupling of eye and hand movements and further suggest that dorsal stream structures may not be sufficient to drive memory-guided saccadic performance.