Functional foveal splitting: evidence from neuropsychological and multimodal MRI investigations in a Chinese patient with a splenium lesion.

Research paper by Benyan B Luo, Chunlei C Shan, Renjing R Zhu, Xuchu X Weng, Sheng S He

Indexed on: 03 Sep '11Published on: 03 Sep '11Published in: PloS one


It remains controversial and hotly debated whether foveal information is double-projected to both hemispheres or split at the midline between the two hemispheres. We investigated this issue in a unique patient with lesions in the splenium of the corpus callosum and the left medial occipitotemporal region, through a series of neuropsychological tests and multimodal MRI scans. Behavioral experiments showed that (1) the patient had difficulties in reading simple and compound Chinese characters when they were presented in the foveal but left to the fixation, (2) he failed to recognize the left component of compound characters when the compound characters were presented in the central foveal field, (3) his judgments of the gender of centrally presented chimeric faces were exclusively based on the left half-face and he was unaware that the faces were chimeric. Functional MRI data showed that Chinese characters, only when presented in the right foveal field but not in the left foveal field, activated a region in the left occipitotemporal sulcus in the mid-fusiform, which is recognized as visual word form area. Together with existing evidence in the literature, results of the current study suggest that the representation of foveal stimuli is functionally split at object processing levels.