NEW ARTICLE in CORTEX [open access]

Left hemispatial neglect and overt orienting in naturalistic conditions: Role of high-level and stimulus-driven signals

Nardo D., De Luca M., Rotondaro F., Spanò B., Bozzali M., Doricchi F., Paolucci S., & Macaluso E.

Deficits of visuospatial orienting in brain-damaged patients affected by hemispatial neglect have been extensively investigated. Nonetheless, spontaneous spatial orienting in naturalistic conditions is still poorly understood. Here, we investigated the role played by top-down and stimulus-driven signals in overt spatial orienting of neglect patients during free-viewing of short videos portraying everyday life situations. In experiment 1, we assessed orienting when meaningful visual events competed on the left and right side of space, and tested whether sensory salience on the two sides biased orienting. In experiment 2, we examined whether the spatial alignment of visual and auditory signals modulates orienting. The results of experiment 1 showed that in neglect patients severe deficits in contralesional orienting were restricted to viewing conditions with bilateral visual events competing for attentional capture. In contrast, orienting towards the contralesional side was largely spared when the videos contained a single event on the left side. In neglect patients the processing of stimulus-driven salience was relatively spared and helped orienting towards the left side when multiple events were present. Experiment 2 showed that sounds spatially aligned with visual events on the left side improved orienting towards the otherwise neglected hemispace. Anatomical scans indicated that neglect patients suffered grey and white matter damages primarily in the ventral frontoparietal cortex. This suggests that the improvement of contralesional orienting associated with visual salience and audiovisual spatial alignment may be due to processing in the relatively intact dorsal frontoparietal areas. Our data show that in naturalistic environments, the presence of multiple meaningful events is a major determinant of spatial orienting deficits in neglect patients, whereas the salience of visual signals and the spatial alignment between auditory and visual signals can counteract spatial orienting deficits. These results open new perspectives to develop novel rehabilitation strategies based on the use of naturalistic stimuli.

A list of relevant publications

Nardo D., De Luca M., Rotondaro F., Spanò B., Bozzali M., Doricchi F., Paolucci S., & Macaluso E. (in press) Left hemispatial neglect and overt orienting in naturalistic conditions: Role of high-level and stimulus-driven signals. Cortex [open access]

Macaluso, E., & Ogawa, A. (2018). Visuo-spatial orienting during active exploratory behavior: processing of task-related and stimulus-related signals. Cortex, 102, 26-44 . PMID: 28942896

Nardo, D., Console, P., Reverberi, C., & Macaluso, E. (2016). Competition between Visual Events Modulates the Influence of Salience during Free-Viewing of Naturalistic Videos. Front Hum Neurosci, 10, 320. PMID: 27445760 [open access]

Fagioli, S., & Macaluso, E. (2016). Neural Correlates of Divided Attention in Natural Scenes. J Cogn Neurosci, 28(9), 1392-405. PMID: 27167404

Silvetti, M., Lasaponara, S., Lecce, F., Dragone, A., Macaluso, E., & Doricchi, F. (2015). The Response of the Left Ventral Attentional System to Invalid Targets and its Implication for the Spatial Neglect Syndrome: a Multivariate fMRI Investigation. Cereb Cortex, 26(12), 4551-4562. PMID: 26405052

Santangelo, V., Di Francesco, S. A., Mastroberardino, S., & Macaluso, E. (2015). Parietal cortex integrates contextual and saliency signals during the encoding of natural scenes in working memory. Hum Brain Mapp, 36(12), 5003-17. PMID: 26333392

Mastroberardino, S., Santangelo, V., & Macaluso, E. (2015). Crossmodal semantic congruence can affect visuo-spatial processing and activity of the fronto-parietal attention networks. Front Integr Neurosci, 945. PMID: 26217199 [open access]

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Kwok, S. C., & Macaluso, E. (2015). Scale invariance of temporal order discrimination using complex, naturalistic events. Cognition, 140111-21. PMID: 25909581 [open access]

Kwok, S. C., & Macaluso, E. (2015). Exogenous features versus prior experiences modulate different subregions of the right IPL during episodic memory retrieval. Sci Rep, 511248. PMID: 26057929 [open access]

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Dragone, A., Lasaponara, S., Silvetti, M., Macaluso, E., & Doricchi, F. (2015). Selective reorienting response of the left hemisphere to invalid visual targets in the right side of space: relevance for the spatial neglect syndrome. Cortex, 6531-5. PMID: 25618327

Kwok, S. C., Shallice, T., & Macaluso, E. (2014). Set-relevance determines the impact of distractors on episodic memory retrieval. J Cogn Neurosci, 26(9), 2070-86. PMID: 24666132 [open access]

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Nardo, D., Santangelo, V., & Macaluso, E. (2014). Spatial orienting in complex audiovisual environments. Hum Brain Mapp, 35(4), 1597-614. PMID: 23616340

Macaluso, E., & Doricchi, F. (2013). Attention and predictions: control of spatial attention beyond the endogenous-exogenous dichotomy. Front Hum Neurosci, 7685. PMID: 24155707 [open access]

Ogawa, A., Bordier, C., & Macaluso, E. (2013). Audio-visual perception of 3D cinematography: an fMRI study using condition-based and computation-based analyses. PLoS One, 8(10), e76003. PMID: 24194828 [open access]

Santangelo, V., & Macaluso, E. (2013). The contribution of working memory to divided attention. Hum Brain Mapp, 34(1), 158-75. PMID: 22021081

Santangelo, V., & Macaluso, E. (2013). Visual salience improves spatial working memory via enhanced parieto-temporal functional connectivity. J Neurosci, 33(9), 4110-7. PMID: 23447619 [open access]

Ogawa, A., & Macaluso, E. (2013). Audio-visual interactions for motion perception in depth modulate activity in visual area V3A. Neuroimage, 71158-67. PMID: 23333414 [open access]

Bordier, C., Puja, F., & Macaluso, E. (2013). Sensory processing during viewing of cinematographic material: computational modeling and functional neuroimaging. Neuroimage, 67213-26. PMID: 23202431 [open access]

Kwok, S. C., Shallice, T., & Macaluso, E. (2012). Functional anatomy of temporal organisation and domain-specificity of episodic memory retrieval. Neuropsychologia, 50(12), 2943-55. PMID: 22877840 [open access]

Bueti, D., Lasaponara, S., Cercignani, M., & Macaluso, E. (2012). Learning about time: plastic changes and interindividual brain differences. Neuron, 75(4), 725-37. PMID: 22920262 [open access]

Nardo, D., Santangelo, V., & Macaluso, E. (2011). Stimulus-driven orienting of visuo-spatial attention in complex dynamic environments. Neuron, 69(5), 1015-28. PMID: 21382559 [open access]