Interpretation of a complex picture and its sensitivity to frontal damage: A reappraisal

C. Rosci, D. Sacco, M. Laiacona, Erminio Capitani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A.R. Luria introduced the interpretation of a meaningful picture as a tool for assessing pre-frontal impairment. We gave this test to 196 normal adults, who were asked to communicate what was happening in the portrayed scene (a boy chases a mouse hidden under a cupboard, while three frightened girls assist). The same subjects were given two other frontal tests (verbal fluency on phonemic cue and Trail Making Test (TMT)) and Raven's Matrices. Twenty-three normal subjects (12%) failed to correctly interpret the picture. We also examined 20 patients whose brain lesion encroached upon pre-frontal areas, in order to check if this version of the test could be easily administered to this type of patient, and if its difficulty level was appropriate for avoiding ceiling and floor effects. Twelve patients were unable to interpret the picture (60%). A similar failure rate was observed with the same subjects on verbal fluency and TMT, while Raven's Matrices were less impaired (35%). Some dissociation was found between Picture Interpretation and the TMT. The Italian version of the Picture Interpretation Test is suitable for the examination of pre-frontal patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-330
Number of pages9
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005


  • Frontal lesions
  • Problem solving
  • Visual exploration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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