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When the world ends on the left side

The Department of Psychology is seeking participants for a study on hemispatial neglect

Freiburg, Apr 30, 2019

When the world ends on the left side

For people suffering from hemispatial neglect, a part of the world no longer exists. Illustration: Department of Psychology/University of Freiburg

In a study, researchers from the Department of Psychology at University of Freiburg would like to find out why people with hemispatial neglect are no longer able to perceive sensory impressions on their left side. The researchers are looking for volunteers from the Freiburg area who suffer from this chronic form of the neuropsychological symptom.

Hemispatial neglect is the result of a right-sided injury or disorder of the brain. This symptom often occurs after a stroke or a severe head injury. Although the sensory organs are not affected, those affected no longer perceive the left-side of their environment, except for very conspicuous and simple objects such as a red circle. This led the researchers to the hypothesis that the integration of features depends on how conspicuous they are.

The brain processes properties of objects such as color, shape or movement separately and then compiles this information. Patients affected by hemispatial neglect can perceive simple objects that do not have to be assembled in the brain. They fail to see more complicated objects such as a cup. The Freiburg scientists want to investigate whether the incorrect composition is the cause of the symptom. They will also investigate the effectiveness of the most commonly used form of therapy for hemispatial neglect. This is a vibrational stimulus that stimulates the neck muscles and draws attention to the left side.


Private lecturer Dr. Joseph Krummenacher
Department of Psychology
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-2475