Body consciousness, attention and space

Research is carried out on consciousness, attention and space in healthy people and neurological and clinical patients.

Current work is on:

  • Perceptual migration and its relation to neglect and allochiria.
  • Anosognosia for (unawareness of) hemiplegia and its relation to delusional states.
  • Touch: its relation to other modalities and spatial frames of reference. Professor Marcel has a continuing interest in emotion experience in relation to consciousness, attention and self-experience.

A proportion of healthy people show high susceptibility to migration of perceptual content from unattended locations to an attended location, in touch, audition and vision (Marcel et al, 2004, 2006).

This is equivalent to allochiria, associated with neglect. We propose that much neglect and extinction is underlain by this, whereby contralesional stimuli migrate to and experientially replace or fuse with ipsilesional ones.

Preliminary data suggests that susceptibility to migration:

  • is genetic
  • is related to narrow spatial attention and weak binding
  • indicates a predisposition to persisting neglect if such healthy individuals suffer appropriate brain damage

We are also testing the extent to which symptoms of neglect in neurological patients reflect migration.