New protocol for dissociating visuospatial working memory ability in reaching space and in navigational space

Michela Lupo, Fabio Ferlazzo, Fabio Aloise, Francesco Di Nocera, Anna Maria Tedesco, Chiara Cardillo, Maria Leggio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several studies have demonstrated that the processing of visuospatial memory for locations in reaching space and in navigational space is supported by independent systems, and that the coding of visuospatial information depends on the modality of the presentation (i.e., sequential or simultaneous). However, these lines of evidence and the most common neuropsychological tests used by clinicians to investigate visuospatial memory have several limitations (e.g., they are unable to analyze all the subcomponents of this function and are not directly comparable). Therefore, we developed a new battery of tests that is able to investigate these subcomponents. We recruited 71 healthy subjects who underwent sequential and simultaneous navigational tests by using an innovative sensorized platform, as well as comparable paper tests to evaluate the same components in reaching space (Exp. 1). Consistent with the literature, the principal-component method of analysis used in this study demonstrated the presence of distinct memory for sequences in different portions of space, but no distinction was found for simultaneous presentation, suggesting that different modalities of eye gaze exploration are used when subjects have to perform different types of tasks. For this purpose, an infrared Tobii Eye-Tracking X50 system was used in both spatial conditions (Exp. 2), showing that a clear effect of the presentation modality was due to the specific strategy used by subjects to explore the stimuli in space. Given these findings, the neuropsychological battery established in the present study allows us to show basic differences in the normal coding of stimuli, which can explain the specific visuospatial deficits found in various neurological conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Apr 27 2018


  • Information processing
  • Navigational space
  • Reaching space
  • Sequential presentation
  • Simultaneous presentation
  • Visuospatial working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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