Tool use disorders after left brain damage

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In this paper we review studies that investigated tool use disorders in left-brain damaged (LBD) patients over the last 30 years. Four tasks are classically used in the field of apraxia: Pantomime of tool use, single tool use, real tool use and mechanical problem solving. Our aim was to address two issues, namely, (1) the role of mechanical knowledge in real tool use and (2) the cognitive mechanisms underlying pantomime of tool use, a task widely employed by clinicians and researchers. To do so, we extracted data from 36 papers and computed the difference between healthy subjects and LBD patients. On the whole, pantomime of tool use is the most difficult task and real tool use is the easiest one. Moreover, associations seem to appear between pantomime of tool use, real tool use and mechanical problem solving. These results suggest that the loss of mechanical knowledge is critical in LBD patients, even if all of those tasks (and particularly pantomime of tool use) might put differential demands on semantic memory and working memory. © 2014 Baumard, Osiurak, Lesourd and Le Gall.




Baumard, J., Osiurak, F., Lesourd, M., & Gall, D. L. (2014). Tool use disorders after left brain damage. Frontiers in Psychology. Frontiers Research Foundation.

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