Psychophysical studies have identified two distinct limitations of visual attention capacity: processing speed and apprehension span. Using a simple test, these cognitive factors can be analyzed by Bundesen's Theory of Visual Attention (TVA). The method has strong specificity and sensitivity, and measurements are highly reliable. As the method is theoretically founded, it also has high validity. TVA-based assessment has recently been used to investigate a broad range of neuropsychological and neurological conditions. We present the method, including the experimental paradigm and practical guidelines to patient testing, and review existing TVA-based patient studies organized by lesion anatomy. Lesions in three anatomical regions affect visual capacity: The parietal lobes, frontal cortex and basal ganglia, and extrastriate cortex. Visual capacity thus depends on large, bilaterally distributed anatomical networks that include several regions outside the visual system. The two visual capacity parameters are functionally separable, but seem to rely on largely overlapping brain areas.
Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 2009, Vol 50, Issue 1, p. 23-32