Gaze but not arrows: A dissociative impairment after right superior temporal gyrus damage

Tomoko Akiyama, Motoichiro Kato, Taro Muramatsu, Fumie Saito, Satoshi Umeda, Haruo Kashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

76 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Superior temporal sulcus (STS) activation has consistently been demonstrated in the normal brain when viewing eyes, and thus this area is implicated as a gaze processing region in humans. In a recent report, we have presented a case, M.J., with a well-circumscribed lesion to the right superior temporal gyrus (STG), who demonstrated impaired discrimination of gaze direction. In the aim to make distinct whether this impairment is unique to gaze, we have applied a spatial cueing paradigm established by Kingstone and colleagues. In our experiment, pictorial gaze and symmetrical arrows were centrally presented as non-predictive, spatial cues in detecting peripheral targets. Fifteen normal subjects and M.J. participated in the experiment. In concordance with previous reports, controls demonstrated a significant facilitation of reaction times in detecting targets cued by congruent gaze/arrows, compared with incongruent cues. In striking contrast, M.J. showed no such congruency advantage for gaze, in the face of a normal congruency advantage for arrows. We have demonstrated that a circumscribed lesion to the right STG impairs the ability to utilize biological directional information such as gaze, but leaves the non-biological counterpart (arrows) intact. This dissociation implies that indeed, the STS specializes in processing gaze.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1804-1810
Number of pages7
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume44
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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Keywords

  • Biological motion
  • Joint attention
  • Social cognition
  • Spatial cueing
  • Superior temporal sulcus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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