Neglect

Patients with this condition neglect, that is, ignore, the left-hand side of space (see Robertson and Marshall, 1993, for a review). If, for example, you stand to the right of such a patient and ask "how are you today Mrs. Jones?" she is likely to reply "fine, thank you." If you stand to her left and ask the same question, she is likely to simply ignore you. This is not because she fails to see or hear you. We have known for some time (see De Renzi, 1982, for historical review) that neglect is a disorder of attention rather than perception—for example, because such patients can see objects on their left side, providing that they are sufficiently salient (i.e., bright, flashing, moving, etc.). This problem affects not only objects in external space but even the left half of the patient's own body. Such patients frequently shave only the right hand side of the face, dress only the right-sided limbs, and eat only the food on the right-hand side of the plate.

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