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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

November 15, 2001, Vol. 13, No. 8, Pages 1080-1087
(doi: 10.1162/089892901753294374)
© 2001 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Implicit Representations of Space after Bilateral Parietal Lobe Damage
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There is substantial evidence that the primate cortex is grossly divided into two functional streams, an occipital-parietal-frontal pathway that processes “where” and an occipital-temporal-frontal pathway that processes “what” (Ungerleider and Mishkin, 1982). In humans, bilateral occipital-parietal damage results in severe spatial deficits and a neuropsychological disorder known as Balint's syndrome in which a single object can be perceived (simultanagnosia) but its location is unknown (Balint, 1995). The data reported here demonstrate that spatial information for visual features that cannot be explicitly located is represented normally below the level of spatial awareness even with large occipital-parietal lesions. They also demonstrate that parietal damage does not affect preattentive spatial coding of feature locations or complex spatial relationships between parts of a stimulus despite explicit spatial deficits and simultanagnosia.