Visual detection is gated by attending for action: Evidence from hemispatial neglect

Robert Rafal, Shai Danziger, Giordana Grossi, Liana Machado, Robert Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We report observations in patients with visual extinction demonstrating that detection of visual events is gated by attention at the level of processing at which a stimulus is selected for action. In one experiment, three patients reported the identity of numerical words and digits presented either in the ipsilesional field, the contralesional field, or both fields. On the critical bilateral trials, extinction was greater when the competing items shared the same meaning and response, regardless of whether the items were visually different (e.g., ONE + 1), or identical (e.g., 1 + 1). A fourth patient was tested in a second experiment in which the competing items on bilateral trials were either different (e.g., ONE + TWO), identical (e.g., ONE + ONE) or homophones that were visually and semantically different but shared the same response (e.g., ONE + WON). Homophones and identical items caused similar extinction with less extinction occurring on different item trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16371-16375
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number25
StatePublished - 10 Dec 2002


  • Attention
  • Consciousness
  • Extinction
  • Response selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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