Spatial cognition, visuomotor action and attention

Janette Atkinson and Oliver Braddick

in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Across the Lifespan

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199594818
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738166 | DOI:

Series: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

Spatial cognition, visuomotor action and attention

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The first part of this chapter outlines a neurobiological model of visual mechanisms (and their development) that provides the neural underpinnings of the infant and young child's visual, attentional, and spatial abilities. It discusses the links between attention and the child's other cognitive abilities, including planning and executing actions, and how these dynamic developmental interactions between different neural systems may be altered in atypical development from birth through early childhood. A key concept is the broad division of the visual brain into ‘ventral’ and ‘dorsal’ cortical streams. Dorsal-stream deficits are consistent with the characteristic visuocognitive profile found in Williams syndrome (WS). The second part of the chapter presents some evidence on the form these problems take in the visuospatial and visuomotor abilities in children with WS. Lastly, the chapter discusses the overlap between the brain networks controlling action systems and those involved in attention. This means that when visuospatial deficits are considered, these may be associated with deficits of attention.

Keywords: visual mechanisms; cognitive ability; Williams syndrome; visuospatial ability; visuomotor ability; attention deficits

Chapter.  7959 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Psychology

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