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Non-lateralised deficits in anti-saccade performance in patients with hemispatial neglect

Butler, S.H. and Rossit, Stephanie and Gilchrist, I.D. and Ludwig, C.J.H. and Olk, Bettina and Muir, Keith and Reeves, Ian and Harvey, Monika (2009) Non-lateralised deficits in anti-saccade performance in patients with hemispatial neglect. Neuropsychologia, 47 (12). pp. 2488-2495.

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Abstract

We tested patients suffering from hemispatial neglect on the anti-saccade paradigm to assess voluntary control of saccades. In this task participants are required to saccade away from an abrupt onset target. As has been previously reported, in the pro-saccade condition neglect patients showed increased latencies towards targets presented on the left and their accuracywas reduced as a result of greater undershoot. To our surprise though, in the anti-saccade condition, we found strong bilateral effects: the neglect patients produced large numbers of erroneous pro-saccades to both left and right stimuli. This deficit in voluntary control was present even in patients whose lesions spared the frontal lobes. These results suggest that the voluntary control of action is supported by an integrated network of cortical regions, including more posterior areas. Damage to one or more components within this networkmay result in impaired voluntary control.