Card posting does not rely on visual orientation: A challenge to past neuropsychological dissociations

Constanze Hesse* (Corresponding Author), Kamilla Bonnesen, Volker H. Franz, Thomas Schenk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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A common set of tasks frequently employed in the neuropsychological assessment of patients with visuomotor or perceptual deficits are the card-posting and the perceptual orientation matching tasks. In the posting task, patients have to post a card (or their hand) through a slot of varying orientations while the matching task requires them to indicate the slot’s orientation as accurately as possible. Observations that damage to different areas of the brain (dorsal vs. ventral stream) is associated with selective impairment in one of the tasks - but not the other - has led to the suggestion that different cortical pathways process visual orientation information for perception versus action. In three experiments, we show that this conclusion may be premature as posting does not seem to rely on the processing of visual orientation information
but is instead performed using obstacle avoidance strategies that require an accurate judgement of egocentric distances between the card’s and the slot’s edges. Specifically, we found that while matching is susceptible to the oblique effect (i.e., common perceptual orientation bias with higher accuracy for cardinal than oblique orientations), this was not the case for posting, neither in immediate nor in memory-guided conditions. In contrast to matching, posting errors primarily depended on biomechanical demands and reflected a preference for performing efficient and comfortable movements. Thus, we suggest that previous dissociations between perceptual and visuomotor performance in letter posting tasks are better explained by impairments in egocentric and allocentric spatial processing than by independent visual processing systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107920
Number of pages15
Early online date22 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to thank Andrei Birladeanu for help with data collection in Experiment 1. Kamilla Bonnesen was funded by a Vacation Scholarship from the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland


  • oblique effect
  • action
  • perception
  • task demands
  • two-visual streams
  • biomechanical constraints


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