Orienting of attention in left unilateral neglect

Paolo Bartolomeo, S. Chokron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

226 Citations (Scopus)


After right posterior brain damage, patients may ignore events occurring on their left, a condition known as unilateral neglect. Although deficits at different levels of impairment may be at work in different patients, the frequency and severity of attentional problems in neglect patients have been repeatedly underlined. Recent advances in the knowledge of the mechanisms of spatial attention in normals may help characterizing these deficits. The present review focuses on studies exploring several aspect of attentional processing in unilateral neglect, with particular reference to the dichotomy between 'exogenous', or stimulus-related, and 'endogenous', or strategy-driven, orienting of attention. A large amount of neuropsychological evidence suggests that a basic mechanism leading to left neglect behavior is an impaired exogenous orienting toward left-sided targets. In contrast, endogenous processes seem to be relatively preserved, if slowed, in left unilateral neglect. Other component deficits, such as a general slowing of the operations of spatial attention, might contribute to neglect behavior. These results are presented and discussed, and their implications for hemispheric specialization in attentional orienting and for the mechanisms of visual consciousness are explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-234
Number of pages18
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Brain Diseases
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Orientation
  • Visual Perception


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