The right hemisphere is dominant in organization of visual search-A study in stroke patients

Antonia F. Ten Brink, J. Matthijs Biesbroek, Hugo J. Kuijf, Stefan Van der Stigchel, Quirien Oort, Johanna M A Visser-Meily, Tanja C W Nijboer

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28 Citations (SciVal)


Cancellation tasks are widely used for diagnosis of lateralized attentional deficits in stroke patients. A disorganized fashion of target cancellation has been hypothesized to reflect disturbed spatial exploration. In the current study we aimed to examine which lesion locations result in disorganized visual search during cancellation tasks, in order to determine which brain areas are involved in search organization. A computerized shape cancellation task was administered in 78 stroke patients. As an index for search organization, the amount of intersections of paths between consecutive crossed targets was computed (i.e., intersections rate). This measure is known to accurately depict disorganized visual search in a stroke population. Ischemic lesions were delineated on CT or MRI images. Assumption-free voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping and region of interest-based analyses were used to determine the grey and white matter anatomical correlates of the intersections rate as a continuous measure. The right lateral occipital cortex, superior parietal lobule, postcentral gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, middle temporal gyrus, supramarginal gyrus, inferior longitudinal fasciculus, first branch of the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF I), and the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, were related to search organization. To conclude, a clear right hemispheric dominance for search organization was revealed. Further, the correlates of disorganized search overlap with regions that have previously been associated with conjunctive search and spatial working memory. This suggests that disorganized visual search is caused by disturbed spatial processes, rather than deficits in high level executive function or planning, which would be expected to be more related to frontal regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-79
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • Cancellation
  • Lesion-symptom mapping
  • Search organization
  • Stroke
  • Visual search


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