Auditory deficits in visuospatial neglect patients.
Pavani F., Husain M., Ládavas E., Driver J.
Since the pioneering experimental work of Bisiach et al. (1984) on deficits in sound localisation associated with unilateral brain lesions and visual neglect, a number of systematic investigations have examined auditory processing in visuospatial neglect patients. Evidence from a variety of experimental paradigms has revealed some auditory deficits in detection and identification tasks, during bilateral stimulation; plus localisation deficits for single sounds. These deficits emerge predominantly for contra-lesional sounds, although some auditory disturbances applying to both contra- and ipsilesional sounds have also been documented. Here we review evidence suggesting that some of these auditory deficits arise in relatively high-level stages of spatial processing. In addition, we present new analyses showing that auditory deficits in identification and localisation tasks often correlate with clinical measures of visual neglect, across a variety of different studies and tasks. This empirical relation suggests that a disturbance of multisensory spatial processing may often account for the joint auditory and visual spatial deficits in neglect patients, although rarer dissociations between the modalities should also be considered.