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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 25 (2012), Issue 3, Pages 233-244

Allographic Agraphia for Single letters

Alina Menichelli,1 Francesca Machetta,2 Antonella Zadini,1 and Carlo Semenza3

1S.C. Medicina Riabilitativa, Ospedali Riuniti di Trieste, Trieste, Italy
2Department of Psychology, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy
3Department of Neuroscience, University of Padova, and I.R.C.C.S. Ospedale S. Camillo, Lido di Venezia, Italy

Received 16 March 2012; Accepted 16 March 2012

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The case is reported of a patient (PS) who, following acute encephalitis with residual occipito-temporal damage, showed a selective deficit in writing cursive letters in isolation, but no difficulty to write cursive-case words and non-words. Notably, he was able to recognize the same allographs he could not write and to produce both single letters and words in print. In addition to this selective single letter writing difficulty, the patient demonstrated an inability to correctly perform a series of imagery tasks for cursive letters.

PS’s performance may indicate that single letter production requires explicit imagery. Explicit imagery may not be required, instead, when letters have to be produced in the context of a word: letter production in this case may rely on implicit retrieval of well learned scripts in a procedural way.