Failing to appreciate doors, and other mysteries of brain space

By Carl Zimmer | September 22, 2010 12:46 pm

neglect drawingsMore brains!

Yesterday I blogged about my new article in the Times about a new theory of consciousness. Today my latest column about the brain is posted at Discover’s web site. I take a look this month at space. One of the most fascinating ways the brain can go awry is known as spatial neglect, in which people simply ignore part of the world around them. (These drawings were made by people suffering from one form of spatial neglect.)

In my column, I look at recent research that uses these kinds of failings to figure out how we build our perception of space in the first place. Check it out!

[Image: Nature]

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Brains, Writing Elsewhere

Comments (2)

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  1. Quick Links | A Blog Around The Clock | September 22, 2010
  1. johnk

    Most studies of “allocentric” space focus on the hippocampal formation. In my reading of the cited articles (although its not very clear) the “allocentric” space of “allocentric neglect” is the space within an object. Presumably, this is part of the “ventral stream” of visual processing where object recognition is thought to occur. Within-object space seems like a small slice of spatial processing. (It’s also not clear to me what the “right” side of an object is, if its not egocentrically defined).

    Hippocampal “allocentric” processing refers to navigational space. Place cells, head-direction cells and grid cells, are found in and around the hippocampal formation, All appear to be allocentric representations of the space in an environment, the spatial frame for navigation. Rats, monkeys and humans with lesions in or near the hippocampal formation have great difficulty with tasks involving navigational space.


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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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