Visual-Spatial Disabilities

  • Nils R. Varney
  • Abigail B. Sivan


The cognitive disturbances to be discussed in this chapter have as their most significant feature an inability to appreciate the spatial aspects of visual experience. Like the aphasic disorders, visual-spatial deficits can be quite heterogeneous, both in the constellation of deficits shown by individual patients and in qualitative features of their abnormal performances. Unlike aphasic disorders, however, visual-spatial deficits often go unnoticed by the affected patient and his relatives and come to light only when directly evaluated with neuropsychological tests. Thus, without formal assessment, many of the disabilities to be discussed here would escape the notice of neuropsychologists, neurologists, or rehabilitation personnel.


Clinical Neuropsychology Receptive Aphasia Constructional Praxis Block Construction Optic Ataxia 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Albert, M. (1973). A simple test of visual neglect. Neurology, 23, 658–664.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Arrigoni, G., & DeRenzi, E. (1964). Constructional apraxia and hemispheric locus of lesion. Cortex, 1, 180–197.Google Scholar
  3. Balint, R. (1909). Die seelenlahmung des “Schauens.” Cites in Heilman and Valenstein (Eds) Clinical Neuropsychology. Oxford University Press, New York, 1979.Google Scholar
  4. Benson, F. and Barton, M. (1970). Disturbances in constructional ability. Cortex, 6, 29–49.Google Scholar
  5. Benton, A. L. (1969). The visual retention test as a constructional praxis task. Confinia Neurologica, 22, 141–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Benton, A. L. (1967). Construction apraxia and the minor hemisphere. Confinia Neurologica, 29, 1–16.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Benton, A. L. (1968). Differential effects of frontal lobe disease. Neuropsychologia, 6, 53–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Benton, A. L. (1969a). Disorders of spatial orientation. In P. Vinken & G. Bruyn (Eds.), Handbook of Clinical Neurology: Vol. III (pp. 212–228 ). Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  9. Benton, A. L. (1969b). Constructional apraxia. In A. L. Benton (Ed.), Contributions to Clinical Neuropsychology, (pp. 129–142 ). Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  10. Benton, A. L. (1973). Visuoconstructional disability in patients with cerebral disease. Documenta Ophthalmologica, 34, 67–76.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Benton, A. L. (1979). Visuoperceptive, visuospatial, and visuoconstructive disorders. In K. Heilman & E. Valenstein (Eds.), Clinical Neuropsychology (pp. 186–232 ). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Benton, A. L. (1982). Spatial thinking in neurological patients: Historical aspects. In M. Potegal (Ed.), Spatial Abilities. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  13. Benton, A. L., & Fogel, M. (1962). Three-dimensional constructional praxis. Archives of Neurology, 7, 347–359.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Benton, A. L., Hamsher, K., Varney, N., & Spreen, O. (1983). Contributions to neuropsychological assessment. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Benton, A. L., Levin, H., & Van Allen, M. (1974). Geographic orientation in patients with unilateral cerebral disease. Neuropsychologia, 12, 183–191.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Benton, A. L., Varney, N. & Hamsher, K. (1978). Visuospatial judgement. Archives of Neurology, 35, 364–367.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Black, F. W., & Strub, R. L. (1976). Constructional apraxia in patients with discrete missle wounds of the brain. Brain, 12, 212–220.Google Scholar
  18. Carmon, A., & Benton, A. L. (1969). Tactile perception of direction and number in pa¬tients with unilateral cerebral disease. Neurology, 19, 525–532.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Damasio, A. R., & Benton, A. L. (1979). Impairment of hand movements under visual guidance. Neurology, 29, 170–178.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Damasio, A. R., Damasio, H., & Van Hoesen, G. (1982). Prosopagnosia: Anatomical basis and behavioral mechanisms. Neurology, 32, 331–341.Google Scholar
  21. Dee, H. L. (1970). Visuoconstructional and visuoperceptive deficits in patients with unilateral cerebral lesions. Neuropsychologia, 8, 305–314.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. DeRenzi, E. (1982). Disorders of space exploration and cognition. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  23. DeRenzi, E., Faglioni, P., & Scotti, G. (1970). Hemispheric contribution to exploration of space through the visual and tactile modalities. Cortex, 6, 191–203.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Duensing, F. (1953). Raumagnostische and ideatorischapraxische Stoerung des gestalten Handelns. Deutsche A. f. Nervenheilkunde, 170, 72–94.Google Scholar
  25. Hecaen, H. & Angelergues, R. (1963). La cecite psychique. Paris: Masson.Google Scholar
  26. Heilman, L. (1979). Neglect and related disorders. In K. Heilman & E. Valenstein (Eds.), Clinical neuropsychology (pp. 268–302 ). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Kleist, K. (1934). Kriegverletzungen des Gehirns in ihrer Bedeutung fuer die Hirnlokalisation und Hirnpathologie. In O. von Schjeming (Ed.), Handbuch der aerztlichen Erfahrung im Weltkriege (Vol. 4, pp. 343–390 ). Leipzig: Barth.Google Scholar
  28. Lezak, M. (1976). Neuropsychological assessment. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Piercy, M., & Smyth, V. (1962). Right hemisphere dominance for certain nonverbal intel¬lectual skills. Brain, 85, 775–790.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Piercy, M., Hecaen, H., & de Ajuriaguerra, J. (1960). Constructional apraxia associated with cerebral lesions: Left and right cases compared. Brain, 83, 225–242.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Poeck, K. (1969). Modern trends in clinical neuropsychology. In A. L. Benton (Ed.), Contributions to clinical neuropsychology (pp. 1–39 ). Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  32. Ratcliff, G. (1982). Disturbances of spatial orientation associated with cerebral lesions. In M. Potegal (Ed.), Spatial abilities (pp. 301–311 ). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  33. Strauss, H. (1924). Ueber konstructive Apraxie. Monatsschrift fuer Psychiatric und Neurologic, 63, 739–748.Google Scholar
  34. Warrington, E. (1969). Constructional apraxia. In Vinken and Bruyn (eds) Handbook of Clinical Neurology, Vol. 4, North Holland: Amsterdam.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nils R. Varney
    • 1
    • 2
  • Abigail B. Sivan
    • 3
  1. 1.Veterans Administration Medical CenterIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Iowa College of MedicineIowa CityUSA
  3. 3.Child Development Clinic, Department of PediatricsUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA

Personalised recommendations