Poster B11, Sunday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
The effects of cross-modal processing on attentional asymmetries during visual search in right-hemispheric patients with and without neglect
Rebecca E. Paladini1, Sonja Kesselring1, Julia Frey1,2, Flurin Feuerstein1, Urs P. Mosimann1,4, Tobias Nef1, Thomas Nyffeler1,2, René M. Müri1,3, Dario Cazzoli1; 1University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland, 2Luzerner Kantonsspital, Luzern, Switzerland, 3Inselspital, University Hospital Bern, and University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland, 4Private Hospital Wyss, Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland
In cross-modal visual search tasks, spatial congruency between auditory cues and visual targets are known to improve healthy participants’ search performance. Multisensory processing may also influence the spatial deployment of attention in neurological patients with right-hemispheric lesions affecting attentional networks, particularly in those with left-sided neglect. The aim of this study thus consisted in investigating the effects of cross-modal processing on the performance in a visual search task in patients with right-hemispheric lesions, with or without left-sided neglect. Two groups of patients (with and without left-sided neglect) and a group of age-matched healthy controls completed a visual search task with spatially congruent, incongruent, non-informative, and without auditory cues. Moreover, a pure sound-localization control task was administered. As expected, without auditory cues, neglect patients showed a worse performance for left- than right-sided targets in visual search. Additional auditory cues affected search performance exclusively in the left visual field: spatial congruency improved search performance, and incongruence deteriorated it. Crucially, these effects were modulated by sound-localization accuracy, as measured by the control task. In healthy participants and right-hemispheric patients without neglect, auditory cues affected search performance both in the left and the right visual field. However, the magnitudes of these effects were different, showing small left/right asymmetries in healthy controls and more substantial ones in right-hemispheric patients without neglect. Overall, the present findings show that multisensory processing differentially modulates asymmetries in spatial attentional deployment in patients with right-hemispheric lesions with or without neglect, further clarifying the interactions between cross-modal processing and spatial attention.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Multisensory