People show biases to self-related information on a range of tasks. Key but controversial questions are whether self-related information is processed without attention, and whether self-related information determines what is attended. We examined this using patients showing visual extinction. We had patients associated shapes with themselves or their best friend prior to carrying out a shape identification task. We demonstrate that extinction was modulated by whether patients associated stimuli with themselves or their best friend. Notably, patients were biased to identify their own shape relative to the shape associated with their friend, when the two shapes were placed in competition. This occurred even when the self-associated shape fell in the contralesional field. The data indicate that self-relatedness can be computed pre-attentively and can cue attention to regions of space that would otherwise be ignored by neuropsychological patients.
- Personal association