Prism adaptation does not alter object-based attention in healthy participants.
ABSTRACT: Hemispatial neglect ('neglect') is a disabling condition that can follow damage to the right side of the brain, in which patients show difficulty in responding to or orienting towards objects and events that occur on the left side of space. Symptoms of neglect can manifest in both space- and object-based frames of reference. Although patients can show a combination of these two forms of neglect, they are considered separable and have distinct neurological bases. In recent years considerable evidence has emerged to demonstrate that spatial symptoms of neglect can be reduced by an intervention called prism adaptation. Patients point towards objects viewed through prismatic lenses that shift the visual image to the right. Approximately five minutes of repeated pointing results in a leftward recalibration of pointing and improved performance on standard clinical tests for neglect. The understanding of prism adaptation has also been advanced through studies of healthy participants, in whom adaptation to leftward prismatic shifts results in temporary neglect-like performance. Here we examined the effect of prism adaptation on the performance of healthy participants who completed a computerised test of space- and object-based attention. Participants underwent adaptation to leftward- or rightward-shifting prisms, or performed neutral pointing according to a between-groups design. Significant pointing after-effects were found for both prism groups, indicating successful adaptation. In addition, the results of the computerised test revealed larger reaction-time costs associated with shifts of attention between two objects compared to shifts of attention within the same object, replicating previous work. However there were no differences in the performance of the three groups, indicating that prism adaptation did not influence space- or object-based attention for this task. When combined with existing literature, the results are consistent with the proposal that prism adaptation may only perturb cognitive functions for which normal baseline performance is already biased.
Project description:Patients with hemispatial neglect ('neglect') following a brain lesion show difficulty responding or orienting to objects and events on the left side of space. Substantial evidence supports the use of a sensorimotor training technique called prism adaptation as a treatment for neglect. Reaching for visual targets viewed through prismatic lenses that induce a rightward shift in the visual image results in a leftward recalibration of reaching movements that is accompanied by a reduction of symptoms in patients with neglect. The understanding of prism adaptation has also been advanced through studies of healthy participants, in whom adaptation to leftward prismatic shifts results in temporary neglect-like performance. Interestingly, prism adaptation can also alter aspects of non-lateralised spatial attention. We previously demonstrated that prism adaptation alters the extent to which neglect patients and healthy participants process local features versus global configurations of visual stimuli. Since deficits in non-lateralised spatial attention are thought to contribute to the severity of neglect symptoms, it is possible that the effect of prism adaptation on these deficits contributes to its efficacy. This study examines the pervasiveness of the effects of prism adaptation on perception by examining the effect of prism adaptation on configural face processing using a composite face task. The composite face task is a persuasive demonstration of the automatic global-level processing of faces: the top and bottom halves of two familiar faces form a seemingly new, unknown face when viewed together. Participants identified the top or bottom halves of composite faces before and after prism adaptation. Sensorimotor adaptation was confirmed by significant pointing aftereffect, however there was no significant change in the extent to which the irrelevant face half interfered with processing. The results support the proposal that the therapeutic effects of prism adaptation are limited to dorsal stream processing.
Project description:Right brain injury causes visual neglect - lost awareness of left space. During prism adaptation therapy, patients adapt to a rightward optical shift by recalibrating right arm movements leftward. This can improve left neglect, but the benefit of a single session is transient (~1 day). Here we show that tonic disinhibition of left motor cortex during prism adaptation enhances consolidation, stabilizing both sensorimotor and cognitive prism after-effects. In three longitudinal patient case series, just 20 min of combined stimulation/adaptation caused persistent cognitive after-effects (neglect improvement) that lasted throughout follow-up (18-46 days). Moreover, adaptation without stimulation was ineffective. Thus stimulation reversed treatment resistance in chronic visual neglect. These findings challenge consensus that because the left hemisphere in neglect is pathologically over-excited it ought to be suppressed. Excitation of left sensorimotor circuits, during an adaptive cognitive state, can unmask latent plastic potential that durably improves resistant visual attention deficits after brain injury.
Project description:Neglect patients typically show a rightward attentional orienting bias and a strong disengagement deficit, such that they are especially slow in responding to left-sided targets after right-sided cues (Posner et al., 1984). Prism adaptation (PA) can reduce diverse debilitating neglect symptoms and it has been hypothesized that PA's effects are so generalized that they might be mediated by attentional mechanisms (Pisella et al., 2006; Redding and Wallace, 2006). In neglect patients, performance on spatial attention tasks improves after rightward-deviating PA (Jacquin-Courtois et al., 2013). In contrast, in healthy subjects, although there is evidence that leftward-deviating PA induces neglect-like performance on some visuospatial tasks, behavioral studies of spatial attention tasks have mostly yielded negative results (Morris et al., 2004; Bultitude et al., 2013). We hypothesized that these negative behavioral findings might reflect the limitations of behavioral measures in healthy subjects. Here we exploited the sensitivity of event-related potentials to test the hypothesis that electrophysiological markers of attentional processes in the healthy human brain are affected by PA. Leftward-deviating PA generated asymmetries in attentional orienting (reflected in the cue-locked N1) and in attentional disengagement for invalidly cued left targets (reflected in the target-locked P1). This is the first electrophysiological demonstration that leftward-deviating PA in healthy subjects mimics attentional patterns typically seen in neglect patients. Significance statement: Prism adaptation (PA) is a promising tool for ameliorating many deficits in neglect patients and inducing neglect-like behavior in healthy subjects. The mechanisms underlying PA's effects are poorly understood but one hypothesis suggests that it acts by modulating attention. To date, however, there has been no successful demonstration of attentional modulation in healthy subjects. We provide the first electrophysiological evidence that PA acts on attention in healthy subjects by mimicking the attentional pattern typically reported in neglect patients: both a rightward attentional orienting bias (reflected in the cue-locked N1) and a deficit in attentional disengagement from the right hemispace (reflected in the target-locked P1). This study makes an important contribution to refining current models of the mechanisms underlying PA's cognitive effects.
Project description:Lesions to the right temporo-parietal cortex commonly result in hemispatial neglect. Lesions to the same area are also associated with hyperattention to local details of a scene and difficulty perceiving the global structure. This local processing bias is an important factor contributing to neglect and may contribute to the higher prevalence of the disorder following right compared with left hemisphere strokes. In recent years, visuomotor adaptation to rightward-shifting prisms has been introduced as a promising treatment for hemispatial neglect. Explanations for these improvements have generally described a leftward realignment of attention, however, the present investigation provides evidence that prism adaptation reduces the local processing bias. Five patients with right temporal-parietal junction lesions were asked to identify the global or local levels of hierarchical figures before and after visuomotor adaptation to rightward-shifting prisms. Prior to prism adaptation the patients had difficulty ignoring the local elements when identifying the global component. Following prism adaptation, however, this pattern was reversed, with greater global interference during local level identification. The results suggest that prism adaptation may improve non-spatially lateralized deficits that contribute to the neglect syndrome.
Project description:Spatial motor-intentional "Aiming" bias is a dysfunction in initiation/execution of motor-intentional behavior, resulting in hypokinetic and hypometric leftward movements. Aiming bias may contribute to posture, balance, and movement problems and uniquely account for disability in post-stroke spatial neglect. Body movement may modify and even worsen Aiming errors, but therapy techniques, such as visual scanning training, do not take this into account. Here, we evaluated (1) whether instructing neglect patients to move midline body parts improves their ability to explore left space and (2) whether this has a different impact on different patients. A 68-year-old woman with spatial neglect after a right basal ganglia infarct had difficulty orienting to and identifying left-sided objects. She was prompted with four instructions: "look to the left," "point with your nose to the left," "point with your [right] hand to the left," and "stick out your tongue and point it to the left." She oriented leftward dramatically better when pointing with the tongue/nose, than she did when pointing with the hand. We then tested nine more consecutive patients with spatial neglect using the same instructions. Only four of them made any orienting errors. Only one patient made >50% errors when pointing with the hand, and she did not benefit from pointing with the tongue/nose. We observed that pointing with the tongue could facilitate left-sided orientation in a stroke survivor with spatial neglect. If midline structures are represented more bilaterally, they may be less affected by Aiming bias. Alternatively, moving the body midline may be more permissive for leftward orienting than moving right body parts. We were not able to replicate this effect in another patient; we suspect that the magnitude of this effect may depend upon the degree to which patients have directional akinesia, spatial Where deficits, or cerebellar/frontal cortical lesions. Future research could examine these hypotheses.
Project description:Healthy individuals display systematic inaccuracies when allocating attention to perceptual space. Under many conditions, optimized spatial attention processing of the right hemisphere's frontoparietal attention network directs more attention to the left side of perceptual space than the right. This is the pseudoneglect effect. We present evidence reshaping our fundamental understanding of this neural mechanism. We describe a previously unrecognized, but reliable, attention bias to the right side of perceptual space that is associated with semantic object processing. Using an object bisection task, we revealed a significant rightward bias distinct from the leftward bias elicited by the traditional line bisection task. In Experiment 2, object-like shapes that were not easily recognizable exhibited an attention bias between that of horizontal lines and objects. Our results support our proposal that the rightward attention bias is a product of semantic processing and its lateralization in the left hemisphere. In Experiment 3, our novel object-based adaptation of the landmark task further supported this proposition and revealed temporal dynamics of the effect. This research provides novel and crucial insight into the systems supporting intricate and complex attention allocation and provides impetus for a shift toward studying attention in ways that increasingly reflect our complex environments. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
Project description:Previous studies have indicated that increasing working memory (WM) load can affect the attentional selection of signals originating from one object/location. Here we assessed whether WM load affects also the selection of multiple objects/locations (divided attention). Participants monitored either two object-categories (vs. one category; object-based divided attention) or two locations (vs. one location; space-based divided attention) while maintaining in WM either a variable number of objects (object-based WM load) or locations (space-based WM load). Behavioural results showed that WM load affected attentional performance irrespective of divided or focused attention. However, fMRI results showed that the activity associated with object-based divided attention increased linearly with increasing object-based WM load in the left and right intraparietal sulcus (IPS); while, in the same areas, activity associated with space-based divided attention was not affected by any type of WM load. These findings support the hypothesis that WM contributes to the maintenance of resource-demanding attentional sets in a domain-specific manner. Moreover, the dissociable impact of WM load on performance and brain activity suggests that increased IPS activation reflects a recruitment of additional, domain-specific processing resources that enable dual-task performance under conditions of high WM load and high attentional demand.
Project description:During the procedure of prism adaptation, subjects execute pointing movements to visual targets under a lateral optical displacement: as consequence of the discrepancy between visual and proprioceptive inputs, their visuo-motor activity is characterized by pointing errors. The perception of such final errors triggers error-correction processes that eventually result into sensori-motor compensation, opposite to the prismatic displacement (i.e., after-effects). Here we tested whether the mere observation of erroneous pointing movements, similar to those executed during prism adaptation, is sufficient to produce adaptation-like after-effects. Neurotypical participants observed, from a first-person perspective, the examiner's arm making incorrect pointing movements that systematically overshot visual targets location to the right, thus simulating a rightward optical deviation. Three classical after-effect measures (proprioceptive, visual and visual-proprioceptive shift) were recorded before and after first-person's perspective observation of pointing errors. Results showed that mere visual exposure to an arm that systematically points on the right-side of a target (i.e., without error correction) produces a leftward after-effect, which mostly affects the observer's proprioceptive estimation of her body midline. In addition, being exposed to such a constant visual error induced in the observer the illusion "to feel" the seen movement. These findings indicate that it is possible to elicit sensori-motor after-effects by mere observation of movement errors.
Project description:Movements toward an object displaced optically through prisms adapt quickly, a striking example for the plasticity of neuronal visuomotor programs. We investigated the degree and time course of this system's plasticity. Participants performed goal-directed throwing or pointing movements with terminal feedback before, during, and after wearing prism goggles shifting the visual world laterally either to the right or to the left. Prism adaptation was incomplete even after 240 throwing movements, still deviating significantly laterally by on average of 0.8° (CI?=?0.20°) at the end of the adaptation period. The remaining lateral deviation was significant for pointing movements only with left shifting prisms. In both tasks, removal of the prisms led to an aftereffect which disappeared in the course of further training. This incomplete prism adaptation may be caused by movement variability combined with an adaptive neuronal control system exhibiting a finite capacity for evaluating movement errors.
Project description:There are three main theories on how human grasping movements are controlled. Two of them state that grip aperture and the movement of the hand are controlled. They differ in whether the wrist or the thumb of the hand is controlled. We have proposed a third theory, which states that grasping is a combination of two goal-directed single-digit movements, each directed at a specific position on the object. In this study, we test predictions based on each of the theories by examining the transfer of prism adaptation during single-digit pointing movements to grasping movements. We show that adaptation acquired during single-digit movements transfers to the hand opening when subsequently grasping objects, leaving the movement of the hand unaffected. Our results provide strong evidence for our theory that grasping with the thumb and index finger is based on a combination of two goal-directed single-digit movements.