Mirror agnosia and mirror ataxia constitute different parietal lobe disorders

F. Binkofski, G. Buccino, C. Dohle, R. J. Seitz, H. J. Freund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe two new clinical syndromes, mirror agnosia and mirror ataxia, both characterized by the deficit of reaching for an object through a mirror in association with a lesion of either parietal lobe. Clinical investigation of 13 patients demonstrated that the impairments affected both sides of the body. In mirror agnosia, the patients always reached toward the virtual object in the mirror and they were not capable of changing their behavior even after presentation of the position of the object in real visual space. In mirror ataxia (resembling optic ataxia) although some patients initially tended to reach for the virtual object in the mirror, they soon learned to guide their arms toward the real object, all of them producing many directional errors. Both patient groups performed poorly on mental rotation, but only the patients with mirror agnosia were impaired in line orientation. Only 1 of the patients suffered from neglect and 3 from apraxia. Magnetic resonance imaging showed that in mirror agnosia the common zone of lesion overlap was scattered around the posterior angular gyrus/superior temporal gyrus and in mirror ataxia around the postcentral sulcus. We propose that both these clinical syndromes may represent different types of dissociation of retinotopic space and body scheme, or likewise, of allocentric and egocentric space normally adjusted in the parietal lobe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-61
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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