Valentina Moro, Giovanni Berlucchi, Salvatore M. Aglioti

Disturbi dell'immaginazione mentale visiva in una paziente con lesione temporo-occipitale sinistra

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Deficits of mental imagery in brain-damaged patients are typically associated with perceptual and spatial deficits. We report a pure deficit of mental imagery in a woman who sustained an hemorrage confined to the left temporal and occipital lobes. The patient performed within normal limits in WAIS/R and in tests assessing apraxia, visuo-perceptual (line orientation, object and face recognition, copy), attentional (visual search) verbal (naming) and mnestic functions. By contrast the patient was severely impaired in tasks requiring mental imagery (mental confrontation of animals or letters, drawings from memory). Moreover, tactile, auditory, gustatory, olfactory and motor imagery were unaffected. This behavioural pattern supports imaging and clinical studies hinting at the notion that visual mental imagery is a function asymmetrically localised to the left visual association cortices.

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