Cross-modal attention in neurological patients

How is attention oriented when spatial representations break down?

Image from Sinnett et. al., 2007

Spatial extinction, which occurs frequently after right brain damage, entails a failure to report a stimulus presented in the contralesional side of space when it is presented with an ipsilesional stimulus simultaneously. Current account suggest that this phenomenon involves a bias of selective attention in which ipsilesional stimulus have a competitive advantage. Considering that the disorder may be manifested within anyone of the sensory modalities (audition, touch, vision..) , one question of interest in this area is whether or not  stimulus representation from different modalities are in competition with one another for attentional resources. Currently there are evidence supporting the existence of cross-modally  extinction between vision and touch (Di Pellegrino et al, 1997, Ladavas et al., 1998; Mattingley et al., 1997) and between audition and touch (Bender, 1952; Rapp and Hendel, 2003) However there are lack of studies providing evidence from audio-visual extinction. In this project we test the performance of right brain damage patients (who present audio or visual extinction symptoms) in a confrontation task with auditory and visual stimulus presented simultaneously. We hope to find out more about how the attentinonal system coordinate the processing of stimuli in the different sensory modalities. See Sinnett et al., 2007, Neuropsychologia

Representative publications:

Sinnett S, Juncadella M, Rafal R, Azañón E, Soto-Faraco S.  2007.  A dissociation between visual and auditory hemi-inattention: Evidence from temporal order judgements. Neuropsychologia. 45(3):552–60.