Complexity vs. unity in unilateral spatial neglect

G. Rode, M. Fourtassi, C. Pagliari, L. Pisella, Y. Rossetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unilateral spatial neglect constitutes a heterogeneous syndrome characterized by two main entangled components: a contralesional bias of spatial attention orientation; and impaired building and/or exploration of mental representations of space. These two components are present in different subtypes of unilateral spatial neglect (visual, auditory, somatosensory, motor, allocentric, egocentric, personal, representational and productive manifestations). Detailed anatomical and clinical analyses of these conditions and their underlying disorders show the complexity of spatial cognitive deficits and the difficulty of proposing just one explanation. This complexity is in contrast, however, to the widely acknowledged effectiveness of rehabilitation of the various symptoms and subtypes of unilateral spatial neglect, exemplified in the case of prism adaptation. These common effects are reflections of the unity of the physiotherapeutic mechanisms behind the higher brain functions related to multisensory integration and spatial representations, whereas the paradoxical aspects of unilateral spatial neglect emphasize the need for a greater understanding of spatial cognitive disorders.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRevue Neurologique
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Aug 2017


  • Bottom-up
  • Hemineglect
  • Prism adaptation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Top-down
  • Unilateral neglect
  • Unilateral spatial neglect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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