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Durham University



Publication details for Dr Bob Kentridge

Kentridge, R.W., Heywood, C.A. & Milner, A.D. (2004). Covert processing of visual form in the absence of area LO. Neuropsychologia 42(11): 1488-1495.

Author(s) from Durham


The patient D.F., who suffers from severe visual form agnosia, has been found to have a bilateral lesion of area LO, an area known to be intimately involved in the perception of object shape. Despite her perceptual impairment, however, D.F. retains residual form processing abilities that can provide distal visuomotor control, for example in the configuration of her grasp when reaching to pick up objects of different shapes and sizes. This dissociation has been interpreted as reflecting the sparing of a dedicated system for processing the physical properties of objects solely for purposes of guiding action. Here we test this hypothesis in two studies designed to examine whether or not spared shape processing capacities might be revealed under other kinds of indirect test conditions. First, we exploited the fact that a redundant shape cue will speed search for a coloured stimulus within an array, and vice versa. Unlike our control subjects, D.F. showed no facilitation effect of either kind. Second, we used two Stroop tasks in which single coloured uppercase letters were presented. Our intention was to determine (a) whether naming the colour would be influenced by whether the letter was the initial letter of the correct or incorrect colour name (e.g. ‘R’ or ‘G’); and (b) whether the reverse might be true, that is that D.F.’s guesses at letter identity might be influenced by their colour. We found no evidence for a Stroop effect of the former (standard) kind in D.F., but we did find evidence for reverse-Stroop effects. This result may reflect a partial sparing of ventral stream areas specialised for letter-form processing.

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