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Neuropsychologia. 2009 Feb;47(3):933-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.12.005. Epub 2008 Dec 13.

Spatial attention and interhemispheric visuomotor integration in the absence of the corpus callosum.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, United States.


In the lateralized simple reaction time (SRT) task with unimanual responses (Poffenberger paradigm), reaction times (RTs) are faster with ipsilateral (uncrossed) than with contralateral (crossed) response hand-target hemifield combinations. The difference between crossed and uncrossed responses (CUD) has typically been interpreted to reflect callosal transfer time. Indeed, acallosal subjects and split-brain subjects have longer CUDs than control subjects. However, a few recent studies have demonstrated that, contrary to classical findings, the CUD is also affected by non-anatomical factors. Here we show that the CUD is also affected by non-anatomical factors in patients with agenesis of the corpus callosum and complete commissurotomy where interhemispheric transfer must be subcallosal. We tested acallosal subject M.M. and split brain patient A.A. on a lateralized SRT task with their arms alternately uncrossed (natural arms position) or crossed (unnatural arms position) across blocks of trials. The results revealed a significant effect of arms crossing on the size and direction of the CUD as previously found in normal subjects [Mooshagian, E., Iacoboni, M., & Zaidel, E. (2008). The role of task history in simple reaction time to lateralized light flashes. Neuropsychologia, 46(2), 659-664]. This suggests that non-anatomical factors that modulate interhemispheric visuomotor integration may occur in absence of the corpus callosum. Anterior commissure and interhemispheric cortico-subcortical pathways are likely implicated in these effects.

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