Impaired Communication Between the Dorsal and Ventral Stream: Indications from Apraxia

Evans, Carys; Edwards, Martin G.; Taylor, Lawrence J. and Ietswaart, Magdalena. 2016. Impaired Communication Between the Dorsal and Ventral Stream: Indications from Apraxia. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10, 8. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Patients with apraxia perform poorly when demonstrating how an object is used, particularly when pantomiming the action. However, these patients are able to accurately identify, and to pick up and move objects, demonstrating intact ventral and dorsal stream visuomotor processing. Appropriate object manipulation for skilled use is thought to rely on integration of known and visible object properties associated with “ventro-dorsal” stream neural processes. In apraxia, it has been suggested that stored object knowledge from the ventral stream may be less readily available to incorporate into the action plan, leading to an over-reliance on the objects’ visual affordances in object-directed motor behavior. The current study examined grasping performance in left hemisphere stroke patients with (N = 3) and without (N = 9) apraxia, and in age-matched healthy control participants (N = 14), where participants repeatedly grasped novel cylindrical objects of varying weight distribution. Across two conditions, object weight distribution was indicated by either a memory-associated cue (object color) or visual-spatial cue (visible dot over the weighted end). Participants were required to incorporate object-weight associations to effectively grasp and balance each object. Control groups appropriately adjusted their grasp according to each object’s weight distribution across each condition, whereas throughout the task two of the three apraxic patients performed poorly on both the memory-associated and visual-spatial cue conditions. A third apraxic patient seemed to compensate for these difficulties but still performed differently to control groups. Patients with apraxia performed normally on the neutral control condition when grasping the evenly weighted version. The pattern of behavior in apraxic patients suggests impaired integration of visible and known object properties attributed to the ventro-dorsal stream: in learning to grasp the weighted object accurately, apraxic patients applied neither pure knowledge-based information (the memory-associated condition) nor higher-level information given in the visual-spatial cue condition. Disruption to ventro-dorsal stream predicts that apraxic patients will have difficulty learning to manipulate new objects on the basis of information other than low-level visual cues such as shape and size.

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apraxia, visual affordance, ventro-dorsal stream, visual pathways model, grasping

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10 February 2016Published
11 January 2016Accepted

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Date Deposited:

13 Sep 2016 16:46

Last Modified:

03 Aug 2021 15:05

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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