Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
We address two longstanding conflicts in the visual search and unilateral neglect literature by studying feature and conjunction search performance of neglect patients using laterally presented search arrays. The first issue relates to whether feature search is performed independently of attention, or rather requires “spread attention”. If feature search is “preattentive,” it should survive neglect. However, we find neglect effects for both feature and conjunction search, suggesting that feature search, too, has an attentional requirement. The second controversy refers to the space-or object-based nature of neglect following unilateral right-hemisphere parietal lobe damage. If neglect were a purely spatial phenomenon, then we would expect no detriment in performance in the right (nonneglect) field, and diminished performance for the whole left (neglect) field. On the other hand, if neglect were purely object-based, we would expect diminished performance on the left side of the search array, irrespective of its location in the visual field. We now demonstrate a combination of strong object-based and space-based neglect effects for conjunction search with laterally placed element arrays, suggesting that these two mechanisms work in tandem.