Combining language and space: Sentence bisection in unilateral spatial neglect
In line bisection right-brain-damaged patients with left spatial neglect show a rightward deviation, with respect to the line's physical center. In word bisection ortho-phonological features of the stimulus' final (right-sided) part modulate performance of both patients and healthy participants (Veronelli, Vallar, Marinelli, Primativo, & Arduino, 2014). We investigated the role of linguistic factors in sentence bisection, in patients with and without neglect, and control participants. The effects of information in the right-sided part of the sentence (Experiment #1), and of lexical and syntactic violations (Experiment #2) were assessed. Neglect patients showed an overall rightward bias, larger than those of patients without neglect and controls. The neglect patients' bias was modulated by stimulus type, decreasing from lines, to letter strings and to all types of sentences. In sum, in visuo-manual sentence bisection a basic linguistic mechanism, such as sentence readability, brings about a more leftward appreciation of the stimulus, reducing the neglect patients' rightward bias. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.