Two patients with slowly progressive visuospatial impairment demonstrated a peculiar type of visuoconstructive deficit. The most prominent manifestation appeared when handling kanji (logogram) characters and other figurative patterns. The patients showed pure agraphia for complex kanji but not for kana (syllabogram) or Arabic numerals. Their abilities to read and understand kanji characters and to orally describe the structure of a kanji character were preserved. They could not draw or copy figures or symbols except for single lines or simple symbols, although they could identify and name the targets easily. They also performed poorly in such visuoconstructive tasks as the block design subtest and matching to sample tests that require the ability to simultaneously attend to multiple saliencies. When asked to copy multiple kana characters scattered on a sheet of paper, they could correctly describe the location of a particular character in relation to the others, but actually wrote each character in grossly mislocated positions. These findings suggest that when the patients start particular tasks, which require detailed visual analysis, their range of visual attention becomes extremely narrow. This task-dependent narrowing and fixation of visual attention might explain some of the visuoconstructive symptoms described in patients with slowly progressive visuospatial impairment.
- Alzheimer's disease
- Constructional apraxia
- Visual attention
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience