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Neuropsychologia. 2006;44(10):1724-36. Epub 2006 Apr 27.

Illusory conjunctions in simultanagnosia: coarse coding of visual feature location?

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Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 34 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Simultanagnosia is a disorder characterized by an inability to see more than one object at a time. We report a simultanagnosic patient (ED) with bilateral posterior infarctions who produced frequent illusory conjunctions on tasks involving form and surface features (e.g., a red T) and form alone. ED also produced "blend" errors in which features of one familiar perceptual unit appeared to migrate to another familiar perceptual unit (e.g., "RO" read as "PQ"). ED often misread scrambled letter strings as a familiar word (e.g., "hmoe" read as "home"). Finally, ED's success in reporting two letters in an array was inversely related to the distance between the letters. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that ED's illusory reflect coarse coding of visual feature location that is ameliorated in part by top-down information from object and word recognition systems; the findings are also consistent, however, with Treisman's Feature Integration Theory. Finally, the data provide additional support for the claim that the dorsal parieto-occipital cortex is implicated in the binding of visual feature information.

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