Previous studies suggest that normal vision pools information from groups of objects in a display to extract statistical summaries (e.g., mean size). Here we explored whether patients with mild, chronic left neglect were able to extract statistical summaries on the right and left sides of space in a typical manner. We tested 4 patients using a visual search task and varied the mean size of a group of circles within the display. On each trial, a single circle first appeared in the center of the screen (the target). This circle varied in size from trial to trial. Then a multi-item display appeared with circles of various sizes grouped together either on the left or right side of the display. The instructions were to search the circles and determine whether the target was present or not. The circles were always accompanied by a group of task-irrelevant triangles that appeared on the opposite side of the display. On half the trials, the mean size of the circles was the size of the target. On the other half the mean size was different from the target. The patients were not told that this was the case, and no explicit report of the statistics was required. The results showed that when the targets were absent patients produced more false alarms to the mean than non-mean size when the circles were on the left (neglected) side of the display. This finding demonstrates that statistical information was implicitly extracted from the left group of circles. However, summary statistics on the right side were not limited to the circles. Rather it appears that participants pooled the distractors with the target circles, yielding a skewed statistical summary on the right side. These findings are discussed as they relate to statistical summary processing, visual search and segregation of right and left items in patients with mild, chronic unilateral neglect.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry
- Behavioral Neuroscience