Visual search in school-aged children with unilateral brain lesions

J.B. Netelenbos, L. de Rooij

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In this preliminary study, visual search for targets within and beyond the initial field of view was investigated in seven school-aged children (five females, two males; mean age at testing 8 years 10 months, SD 1 year 3 months; range 6 to 10 years) with various acquired, postnatal, focal brain injuries (haematoma, haemorrhage, meningioma, neuroblastoma, and cerebral abscess) in anterior or posterior sites of the left or right hemisphere, and seven control children (matched for age and sex) were also studied. All participants attended mainstream primary schools. The children with lesions underwent surgery after diagnosis (mean age at diagnosis 5 years 4 months, SD 2 years 7 months). Group results indicated that for the overall scores on three psychometric tests of visuospatial and fine motor abilities (Southern California Figure Ground Perception Test, Visual Organization Test, and Visual-Motor Integration Test), no difference between the children with left and right lesions was present. However, children with lesions in the right hemisphere, and not in the left hemisphere, took significantly more time than the controls to locate visual targets presented within and beyond the field of view. Examination of individual data suggested that, in accordance with brain imaging research, right-sided anterior cerebral lesions sustained in early childhood might have an enduring detrimental effect on voluntary visual search performance during development. This persistent effect of early brain injury might imply that developmental plasticity of the brain does not apply to certain specific functions of particular areas of the right hemisphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-339
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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