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Apperceptive Agnosia is a form of agnosia and is the visual disorder that renders a person unable to recognize objects. It is also known as visual space agnosia. Distinction between shapes is difficult, although other aspects of vision, such as ability to see detail and colour, remain intact. Recognition of, copying and discriminating between visual stimuli, even of different shapes, is problematic. Apperceptive agnosics cannot complete an object matching task. Because they are unable to recognize even simple shapes, Apperceptive agnosia is considered a problem in the early part of the visual processing system. As contrasted with patients diagnosed Associative agnosia, whom are able to recognize simple shapes and even copy complex shapes (drawing of an anchor, for example) but are unable to recognize what an object is.

In both cases, identification of objects is entirely based on inferences made by the person based on the colour, size, social, or contextual cues.

A variant of apperceptive agnosia is the inability to recognize objects outside of their normal rotation or orientation.

However, in addition to visual apperceptive agnosia there are also cases of apperceptive agnosia in other sensory areas.[1]

Auditory apperceptive agnosia[edit | edit source]

Auditory apperceptive agnosia are impairments in audition take place despite intact audiogram.[citation needed] In some cases the deficit is in the ability to recognize spoken words and in other cases unable to recognize environmental sounds.[citation needed] In all cases individuals are able to read, write, name objects, and converse intelligently. Similar to visual impairments, the deficit arise because of damage in the temporal lobe.[citation needed] In the case of auditory agnosia bilateral lesions are present in the right temporal gyrus.[2]

In addition to verbal and nonverbal auditory agnosia, there are cases of auditory apperceptive agnosia where patients are unable to recognize music in the absence of sensory, intellectual, and verbal impairments.[citation needed] In these cases there may be a melodic or a memory basis established in the brain and damage to those areas lead to music agnosia.[citation needed] Agnosia occurs because of failure to re-encode melodic information properly. This associated with right-sided lesions interrupting the melodic route in the brain.[3]

Tactile apperceptive agnosia[edit | edit source]

Tactile apperceptive agnosia result in the inability of shape representations specific to tactile modality.[citation needed] The impairment is restricted to the hands even though sensation is not impaired. This is similar to visual apperceptive agnosia in that it is basic level processing that is impaired.[4] Some individuals are unable to recognize objects by touch because of a small cerebral infraction. [citation needed]

Visual apperceptive agnosia[edit | edit source]

Visual apperceptive agnosia is a visual impairment that results in patients inability to name objects.[5] While agnosics suffer from severe deficits, patients visual acuity and other visual abilities such as perceiving parts and colours remain intact.[4] Deficits seem to occur because of damage to early-level perceptual processing.[5] While patients are able to effectively allocate attention to locate the object and perceive the parts, they are unable to group together the parts they see and name the object accurately.[6] This is demonstrated by the fact that patients are more effective at naming two attributes from a single object than they are able to name one attribute on each of the two superimposed objects. In addition they are still able to describe objects in detail and recognize objects by touch.[7]

Apperceptive visual agnosia seems to occur because patients essentially see the world through random visual noise that occurs from random widespread scotomas. In addition, difficulties seem to arise from an inability to perceptually group together perceptual elements in the visual field.[citation needed] Researchers have been able to mimic Apperceptive visual agnosia in visually intact participants.[citation needed] Results have shown that object agnosia can be mimicked by introducing a filter with random visual noise.[citation needed] When crucial aspects are removed from objects to mimic the perceptual grouping deficit of agnosics, [citation needed]participants also showed object recognition deficits. This indicates that Apperceptive agnosia results from both a peppery mask and an inability to group perceptual objects.[6]

The Origin of Apperceptive Visual Agnosia[edit | edit source]

Visual agnosia was first recognized by Lisseauer in 1889.[citation needed] She realized that there were two different types of visual agnosia: associative and apperceptive.[citation needed] She suggested that there were two ways in which object recognition could be impaired following brain damage. It could damage object representations themselves which prevent recognition because of list visual memory representation (associative visual agnosia)[citation needed]. It could also occur because of damage to perceptual processing. This prevents recognition of because of poor input to otherwise intact representations (apperceptive agnosia).[5] Liesseuer noted that apperceptive agnosia caused geometric and volumetric property deficits. Lastly she recognized that it occurs because of damage in the right parietal posterior lesion groups.[8]

Effects of Apperceptive Visual Agnosia[edit | edit source]

Apperceptive visual agnosia results in profound difficulties on a patient's ability to recognize visually presented information.[9] Apperceptive agnosia affects the perceptual processing of individuals. Impairments of elements such as color and motion makes it difficult to interpret shape or the spatial arrangements of objects.[10] Deficits in apperceptive agnosics cannot be linked to deficits in acuity. Additionally, patients have an intact ability to attend to cued stimuli.[6] They maintain the ability to maintain fixation, reach for moving targets, and write as well. Those with apperceptive agnosia, however, have difficultly copying geometric shapes and letters. In some cases individuals are able trace letters and shapes with their finger but they are unable to use the technique as a strategy to name objects.[9]

Deficits in apperceptive agnosics seem to be differential based on categories.[citation needed] Apperceptive agnosia has been noted to affect both broad and specific deficits[citation needed]. Specific deficits includes impairments in the recognition of body parts, buildings, manipulated objects, animals, and places.[citation needed] Broad deficits includes living and man made things.[citation needed] Picture naming is impaired in visual apperceptive agnosia but recognition of objects can be achieved through accessing other modalities. For example an object can be recognized through touch.[citation needed] Also when it is spoken about, individuals with apperceptive agnosia are able to define the object.[citation needed] The continuing of the ability of patients to recognize the object through use of different sensory modalities shows that deficits arise because of a break down in the interaction between visual systems and semantic memory.[11]

Location of Brain Damage[edit | edit source]

Each patient that suffers from apperceptive agnosia does not have brain damage in exactly the same area[citation needed]. However, brain damage in proximity to the occipital lobe is largely correlated with the patterns of deficit seen in apperceptive agnosics.[citation needed] For example patient JB suffered extensive damage to the parietal-occipital areas to the left cerebral hemisphere leading to his deficit in the ability to name distinguish between structurally similar object.[11]

Visually presented object recognition is largely mediated by a hierarchical occipitotemporal pathway.[citation needed] This pathway facilitates the distinction between regions allowing the processing of the visual features of objects. In addition the occipitoparietal pathway is sometimes damaged in apperceptive agnosia patients.[citation needed] Damage to this region leads to impairments in localization of visual stimuli.[12]

Theories of Causation[edit | edit source]

No two apperceptive agnosic patients are the same, but case studies have been used to make theories on what causes the object recognition deficits.[citation needed] While it is established that semantics plays a large role in apperceptive agnosia deficits, it is not agreed upon how semantics alter recognition processes. [citation needed]One theory proposes that semantic memories are divided into differential semantic categories. Brain damage leads to apperceptive agnosia because there is damage to a particular semantic category.[citation needed] Another theory proposes that there are no different categories but there are different areas of the brain that stores different types of features.[citation needed] Living things are thought to be identified by their perceptual features and man-made objects are identified by their functional features.[citation needed] In this theory, damage to one particular area might cause a loss of ability to differentiate living things or non-living things depending on the area of damage.[citation needed] Yet another theory suggests that the pattern of deficit arise from independent impairments to a particular input modality and a single non perceptual semantic system that is organized by category.[citation needed] Deficits are largely due to semantics, however many categories are related perceptually as well.[citation needed] Objects that are biologically similar are likely to have physical resemblance to each other as well.[citation needed] Perceptual confusion arises because of structural similarity contributes or accounts for some modality specific deficit.[citation needed]

Object processing is said to occur by two processes.[citation needed] There is first a stage of object perception.[citation needed] In this step there is mapping of visual description from the stimulus to a set of stored structural descriptions onto a set of structural descriptions of familiar objects.[citation needed] In the second stage, there is object identification.[citation needed] In this step the structural description is mapped onto the semantic representations giving rise to a full specification of the object.[citation needed] Researchers differ in their believe [citation needed] of how perceptual knowledge has an effect. Some believe that the loss of perceptual attributes should always accompany structural similarity. Others observe that perceptual and structural information often accompany each other but they believe that the information can occur independently from each other. Based on patient information it seems that objects belonging to a category with many structurally similar neighbours would be vulnerable to this semantic access impairment.[11]

Case Studies[edit | edit source]

No two apperceptive agnosics are the same so it is beneficial to look at individuals who suffer from apperceptive agnosia to see the range of impairments that can occur and the range of functioning that can remain.

JB[edit | edit source]

Patient JB was able to match spoken words to target pictures almost perfectly when the target was presented with three other dissimilar distractors from the same semantic category. However, when the distractors were similar to each other and from the same semantic category his functioning decreased significantly. His abilities show evidence that the problem may lay in an interaction between processes involved in specification of the object’s visual structural description and access to semantic systems.[11]

ELM[edit | edit source]

Patient ELM has deficits in the ability to name drawings of living things even though her ability to name man-made things remain intact. The early visual processing of shapes appear to be intact as well. In addition, unlike many patients, the ability to identify overlapping drawings of man-made objects remained intact. ELM was able to match both living and non-living things viewed from different perspectives. ELM’s deficit lied in the fact that he was not able to distinguish between drawings that were real and plausibly unreal objects that were living; however, he was able to make the distinction when the objects were man made. His impairments resulted due to damage to structural description of living things. There were problems with integrating features of structurally similar shapes of objects belonging to the same semantic category. This inability might be because of the distance between associated objects. The ones that are semantically close to each other are harder to differentiate.[11]

HJA[edit | edit source]

HJA had deficits in differentiating between living things. She also made errors while naming line drawings. Instead of naming the pictures HJA frequently gave feature-by-feature description of the object (e.g. instead of saying circle, she would say many little dots). In addition, she would separate parts of drawn object instead of saying the name of the whole (e.g. handle and hairs when referring to paintbrush). HJA has problems segmenting global shapes when elements are closely grouped together. However, unlike the other patients, HJA has no problem copying and identifying overlapping drawings. In addition, HJA was able to draw objects accurately from memory.[11]

Populations Affected by Apperceptive Agnosia[edit | edit source]

There are a subset of groups that apperceptive agnosia is more wide spread.[citation needed]

Alzheimer’s Disease[edit | edit source]

Visual agnosia (both apperceptive and associative) can be found as prevalent in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) patients. Visual agnosia may be present in early stages of AD and can often act as an indicator of AD.[13] Apperceptive agnosia results from diffuse cortical pathology of AD. There is early involvement in the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex followed by a spread to adjacent areas with neurofibulary tangles (NFT). Gradual extension of NFT throughout the occipital, parietal, and temporal regions devoted to vision occur resulting in visual agnosia.[10]

Assessment[edit | edit source]

Neurobiology[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. De Renzi, E. (2000). Disorder of Visual Recognition. Seminars in Neurology 20 (4): 479–485.
  2. Buchtel, H.A., and Stewart, J.D. (1989). Auditory Agnosia: Apperceptive or Associative Disorder?. Brain and Language 37: 12–25.
  3. Ayotte, J., Peretz, I.; Rousseau, I.; Bard, C.; and Bojanowski, M. (2000). Patterns of Music Agnosia Associated with Middle Cerebral Artery Infarcts. Brain 123 (9): 1926–1938.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Reed, C.L., Caselli, R.J.; and Farah, M.J. (1996). Tactile Agnosia - Underlying Impairment and Implications for Normal Tactile Object Recognition. Brain 119 (3): 875–888. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Reed" defined multiple times with different content
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Vecera, S., and Gilds, K. (1998). What Processing Is Impaired in Apperceptive Agnosia? Evidence from Normal Subjects. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 10 (5): 568-550.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Abrams, R.A., and Law, M.B (2002). Random Visual Noise Impairs Object-based Attention. Exp Brain Res 142: 349–353.
  7. Shelton, P.A., Bowers, D.; and Duara, R. (1994). Apperceptive Visual Agnosia: A Case Study. Brain and Cognition 25: 1–23.
  8. Warrington EK, Rudge P (July 1995). A comment on apperceptive agnosia. Brain Cogn 28 (2): 173–7; discussion 178–9.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Grossman, M., Galetta, S.; and D'esposito, M. (1997). Object Recognition Difficulty in Visual Apperceptive Agnosia. Brain and Cognition 33: 306–342.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Duffy CJ (January 1999). Visual loss in Alzheimer's disease: out of sight, out of mind. Neurology 52 (1): 10–1.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Funnell, E. (2000). Apperceptive Agnosia and the Visual Recognition of Object Categories in Dementia of the Alzheimer Type. Neurocase 6 (6): 451–463.
  12. Ferreira, C.T., Ceccaldi, M; Giusiano, B.; and Poncet, M. (1998). Separate Visual Pathways for Perception of Actions and Objects: Evidence from A Case Apperceptive Agnosia. J Neurol Neuroseurg Psychiatry 65 (3): 382–385.
  13. Giannakopoulos, P., Gold, G.; Duc, M.; Michel, J.-P.; Hof, P.R; and Bouras, C. (1999). Neuroanatomic Correlates of Visual Agnosia in Alzheimer's Disease: A Clinicopathologic. Neurology 52 (1): 71–77.

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Fundamentals of Sensation and Perception, Michael Levine. Oxford University Press (3rd Edition). London, 2000.
  • Visual Perception, Tom Cornsweet. Harcourt Publishing, London, 1970.

External links[edit | edit source]

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