Research Topic

Spatial and non-spatial aspects of neglect

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Neglect is one of the most impressive neuropsychological disorder, for both its theoretical and clinical relevance. Besides being very common and disabling, it is highly informative for understanding normal cognitive functioning. ...

Neglect is one of the most impressive neuropsychological disorder, for both its theoretical and clinical relevance. Besides being very common and disabling, it is highly informative for understanding normal cognitive functioning.
The hallmark of neglect is the failure to attend to the contralesional hemispace. However, several studies have recently highlighted that additional deficits, not attributable to a spatial bias, are associated to the impaired contralesional hemispace processing. Moreover, manifestations of neglect tend to be particularly heterogeneous and often dissociate according to the spatial domain being investigated (e.g., body space, space within reaching, space beyond reaching, imaginal space). There are several explanations for neglect, which were all empirically tested and historically situated. Task dissociations in a single patient are more the rule than the exception and evidence suggests that the amount of available attentional resources is a major determinant for the presence and the severity of neglect. Neglect patients provide a wealth of information about the functioning of systems subserving attentional orienting and spatial processing. Moreover, their performance suggests that some non-spatial deficits are tightly coupled with more classic contralesional spatial deficits. Temporal aspects of attention might be also impaired in neglect, and, according to some authors, the core deficit of these patients would be linked to an unspecific lack of attentional resources.
From the clinical point of view, neglect is a disorder that dramatically affects patients and their caregivers, because it severely limits the individuals’ autonomy and motor recovery after brain damage. For these reasons neglect is a disorder that is worth rehabilitating. To be effective, neglect rehabilitation should be based on the knowledge of what cognitive aspects are impaired and it should be focused on improving daily-life performance. For these reasons, it is also important to detect and quantify subtle forms of neglect.
We seek contributions to this Frontiers Research Topic relating to all spatial and non-spatial aspects of neglect and associated deficits to compile a current state of the field, from both perspectives of research and clinical translation. Manuscripts dealing with anosognosia, allochiria, and somatoparaphrenia, while not being the focus of the present Research Topic, might also be suitable.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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