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THE ORIGINS OF UTILIZATION BEHAVIOUR

TIM SHALLICE, PAUL W. BURGESS, FREDERICK SCHON, DOREEN M. BAXTER
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/112.6.1587 1587-1598 First published online: 1 December 1989

Summary

Utilization behaviour has previously been described clinically by Lhermitte (1983). An experimental investigation is reported of utilization behaviour in a patient with a localized inferior medial bifrontal lesion. The patient picked up and used irrelevant objects not only when placed directly in front of him—the procedure developed by Lhermitte—but also when he had been instructed to carry out other tasks and his attention had not been directed to the objects. The behaviour occurred most frequently in the brief intervals between tasks, and more often when auditory-verbal rather than visuomotor tasks were being performed. The results are interpreted within an information-processing model of frontal lobe function. A differentiation is made between two forms of utilization behaviour—an ‘incidental’ form, as exhibited by the patient, and an ‘induced’ form where it occurs only when Lhermitte's procedure is adopted.

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