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PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34937. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034937. Epub 2012 Apr 26.

Prefrontal cortex lesions impair object-spatial integration.

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Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, California, United States of America.


How and where object and spatial information are perceptually integrated in the brain is a central question in visual cognition. Single-unit physiology, scalp EEG, and fMRI research suggests that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is a critical locus for object-spatial integration. To test the causal participation of the PFC in an object-spatial integration network, we studied ten patients with unilateral PFC damage performing a lateralized object-spatial integration task. Consistent with single-unit and neuroimaging studies, we found that PFC lesions result in a significant behavioral impairment in object-spatial integration. Furthermore, by manipulating inter-hemispheric transfer of object-spatial information, we found that masking of visual transfer impairs performance in the contralesional visual field in the PFC patients. Our results provide the first evidence that the PFC plays a key, causal role in an object-spatial integration network. Patient performance is also discussed within the context of compensation by the non-lesioned PFC.

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