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Visuospatial Ability

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Updated June 02, 2010

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Definition:

Visuospatial abilities are those related to understanding and conceptualizing visual representations and spatial relationships in learning and performing a task. Evidence suggests that the parietal lobes are extensively involved in spatial analysis, including the analysis of location and spatial relationships.

In Alzheimer's disease, visuospatial problems may cause an individual to become disoriented or lost in familiar environments, and recognizing familiar individuals may become impaired. Visuospatial deficits often explain getting lost while driving, and may lead to accidents.

In a large longitudinal study on the transition from healthy aging to Alzheimer's disease, researchers found that visuospatial abilities had a steep decline an average of three years before clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, and that global cognitive abilities followed the decline in visuospatial abilities during the next year.

Alternate Spellings: visuo-spatial

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