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Journal Article


Rossetti Y, Pisella L, McIntosh RD. Ann. Phys. Rehabil. Med. 2017; 60(3): 130-140.


Human Cognitive Neuroscience, Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.


(Copyright © 2017, Elsevier Publishing)






Among the many dissociations describing the visual system, the dual theory of two visual systems, respectively dedicated to perception and action, has yielded a lot of support. There are psychophysical, anatomical and neuropsychological arguments in favor of this theory. Several behavioral studies that used sensory and motor psychophysical parameters observed differences between perceptive and motor responses. The anatomical network of the visual system in the non-human primate was very readily organized according to two major pathways, dorsal and ventral. Neuropsychological studies, exploring optic ataxia and visual agnosia as characteristic deficits of these two pathways, led to the proposal of a functional double dissociation between visuomotor and visual perceptual functions. After a major wave of popularity that promoted great advances, particularly in knowledge of visuomotor functions, the guiding theory is now being reconsidered. Firstly, the idea of a double dissociation between optic ataxia and visual form agnosia, as cleanly separating visuomotor from visual perceptual functions, is no longer tenable; optic ataxia does not support a dissociation between perception and action and might be more accurately viewed as a negative image of action blindsight. Secondly, dissociations between perceptive and motor responses highlighted in the framework of this theory concern a very elementary level of action, even automatically guided action routines. Thirdly, the very rich interconnected network of the visual brain yields few arguments in favor of a strict perception/action dissociation. Overall, the dissociation between motor function and perceptive function explored by these behavioral and neuropsychological studies can help define an automatic level of action organization deficient in optic ataxia and preserved in action blindsight, and underlines the renewed need to consider the perception-action circle as a functional ensemble.

Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

Language: en


Action; Dorsal; Optic ataxia; Vision; Visuomotor


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