The effect of stimulus features on working memory of categorical and coordinate spatial relations in patients with unilateral brain damage

Ineke J.M. van der Ham, Richard Jack Anton van Wezel, Anna Oleksiak, Martine J.M. van Zandvoort, Catharina J.M. Frijns, L. Jaap Kapelle, Albert Postma

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)
    7 Downloads (Pure)


    Spatial relations are typically divided into categorical and coordinate spatial relations. Categorical relations are abstract and show a left hemisphere (LH) advantage, whereas coordinate relations are metric and related to a right hemisphere (RH) advantage. In the current study a working memory task was used to asses categorical and coordinate performance with two different stimulus sets. In this task, participants had to compare two sequentially presented stimuli, consisting of a dot and a cross. The cross size used in the stimuli was either large or small; a direct manipulation of the amount of information provided to determine a category, or to assess a distance. Patients with damage in the LH or the RH and highly comparable controls were tested. In control participants, categorical processing is faster with the use of a large cross, i.e., more visual information about category boundaries. In contrast, coordinate performance was more accurate with a small cross, i.e., presenting less unnecessary visual information. LH patients showed a specific defect in processing categorical stimuli with a small cross and coordinate stimuli with a large cross. The RH patients were impaired in all conditions except for the categorical small cross condition. We conclude that a larger amount of nformation present in stimuli increases categorical processing performance and decreases coordinate processing performance, while opposite effects are found for less stimulus information.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)737-745
    Number of pages9
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • BSS-Neurotechnology and cellular engineering
    • EWI-21830
    • relations
    • Working memory
    • IR-80315
    • Lateralization
    • Stimulus features
    • METIS-293163
    • Categorical and coordinate spatial
    • Unilateral brain damage

    Cite this