When I was a graduate student 25 years ago, I met a man I’ll call Mr. X, who had recently recovered from a stroke to the right side of his cerebral cortex.
We took a large sheet of paper, filled it with scattered horizontal line segments…and put it on a table in front of him. Then we gave him a marker and asked him to put a vertical mark through every horizontal line on the page.
I remember he laughed and said, “This again!” before confidently crossing out every horizontal line on the right-hand side of the page, but none on the left.
Hemispatial neglect is the purest known disruption of consciousness caused by brain damage…One of the lessons from neglect is that…consciousness is not a single, unified entity. It breaks apart along spatial lines—left versus right and near versus far.
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