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The Interaction of Spatial Reference Frames and Hierarchical Object Representations: Evidence from Figure Copying in Hemispatial Neglect

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2001, 00:00 by Marlene Behrmann, David C. Plaut
In copying or drawing a figure, patients with hemispatial neglect following right parietal lobe lesions typically produce an adequate representation of parts on the right of the figure while omitting the corresponding features on the left. The neglect of information occupying contralateral locations is influenced by multiple spatial reference frames and by the hierarchical structure of the object(s) in the figure. The present work presents a computational characterization of the interaction among these influences to account for the way in which neglect manifests in copying. Empirical data are initially collected from brain-damaged and normal control subjects during two figure-copying tasks in which the hierarchical complexity and orientation of the displays to be copied are manipulated. In the context of the model, neglect is simulated by a “lesion” (monotonic drop-off along gradient from right to left) that can affect performance in both object- and viewer-centered reference frames. The effect of neglect in both these frames, coupled with the hierarchical representation of the object(s), provides a coherent account of the copying behavior of the patients and may be extended to account for the copying performance of other patients across a range of objects and scenes.