Computer-based attention-demanding testing unveils severe neglect in apparently intact patients}

M. Bonato, K. Priftis, C. Umiltà, M. Zorzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We tested a group of ten post-acute right-hemisphere damaged patients. Patients had no neglect according to paper-and-pencil cancellation tasks. They were administered computer-based single- and dual-tasks, requiring to orally name the position of appearance (e.g. left vs. right) of briefly-presented lateralized targets. Patients omitted a consistent number of contralesional targets (≈ 40%) under the single-task condition. When required to perform a concurrent task which recruited additional attentional resources (dual-tasks), patients' awareness for contralesional hemispace was severely affected, with less than one third of contralesional targets detected (≈ 70% of omissions). In contrast, performance for ipsilesional (right-sided) targets was close to ceiling, showing that the deficit unveiled by computer-based testing selectively affected the contralesional hemispace. We conclude that computer-based, attention-demanding tasks are strikingly more sensitive than cancellation tasks in detecting neglect, because they are relatively immune to compensatory strategies that are often deployed by post-acute patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-181
Number of pages3
JournalBehavioural Neurology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • attentional resources
  • cognitive load
  • dual-task
  • Neglect
  • neuropsychological assessment
  • right hemisphere damage
  • spatial awareness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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