What's Left in Neglect Research?

Most visitors viewing Milan’s famous cathedral (Duomo) would not know that they are standing in the square (Piazza del Duomo) of one of neurology’s more important experiments (some of us remain dazzled by its history and extraordinary facade and the fact that the best panzerotti in Milan are to be found just around the corner).1 Bisiach and Luzzatti asked 2 of their patients with neglect, both native Milanesi, to imagine standing on the steps of the cathedral. They asked them to describe the buildings bordering the Piazza del Duomo from their imaginations. Both described features of the square to the right of their mental standpoint, neglecting those to the left. Yet when they were asked to mentally stand at the other end of the piazza, facing the Duomo, they were able to recall all the features to their right again—the ones that had been left out when imaging the view from the cathedral. So, the concept of left representational neglect was added to neuropsychology, leading to the development of some of the concepts and instruments we use to detect neglect even today.2

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