Putting attention on the line

investigating the activation-orientation hypothesis of pseudoneglect

Janet H. Bultitude, Anne M. Aimola Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

72 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Neurologically healthy participants systematically misbisect horizontal lines to the left of centre, a phenomenon termed ‘pseudoneglect’. According to the activation–orientation hypothesis, the distribution of attention is biased in the direction opposite to the more activated hemisphere. Since visuospatial tasks involve activation of the right hemisphere, the hypothesis suggests that a leftward line-bisection bias might be explained by the uneven distribution of attention to the left and right line segments. A crucial assumption of this explanation is that the more attended half of the line will be perceived as longer than the less attended half. This study uses a tachistoscopic Landmark test and an attention cueing paradigm to explore this assumption. Three conditions were met to demonstrate the relative elongation of the more attended half of the line: (1) attention was biased to the cued end of the line, (2) subjective line midpoint was shifted towards the cued end, and (3) alternative biasing factors were ruled out. The results also demonstrate that increased hemispheric activation, resulting from presentation of stimuli in one or the other visual field, leads to subjective midpoints that are biased away from the more activated hemisphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1849-1858
Number of pages10
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume44
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords

  • unilateral neglect
  • line bisection
  • Landmark test
  • Posner precueing

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