Abstract

Working memory (WM) is known to be impaired in patients with stroke experiencing unilateral spatial neglect (USN). Here, we examined in a systematic manner three WM components: memory of object identity, memory of object location, and binding between object identity and location. Moreover, we used two different retention intervals to isolate maintenance from other mnemonic and perceptual processes. Fourteen USN first-event stroke patients with right-hemisphere damage were tested in two different WM experiments using long and short retention intervals and an analog response scale. Patients exhibited more identification errors for items displayed on the contralesional side. Localization errors were also more prominent in the contralesional side, especially after a long retention interval. These localization errors were often a result of swap errors, that is, erroneous localizations of correctly identified contralesional objects in correctly memorized locations of ipsilesional objects. We conclude that a key WM deficit in USN is a lateralized impairment in binding between the identity of an object and its spatial tag.

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