The effects of local and global processing demands on perception and action

Laura E. Hughes*, Timothy C. Bates, Anne M. Aimola Davies

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


The line-bisection task, adapted to utilise a wooden rod as the bisection stimulus, has revealed that patients with visuo-spatial neglect may be more accurate at bisection when asked to pick up the rod, compared to pointing to its centre. We recently reported that neurologically intact participants show a similar dissociation on this task-demonstrating a rightward bias when pointing to the centre, which was not present when grasping the rod by the centre. The current paper examined how pointing and grasping responses were affected by adapted rod-bisection tasks that emphasised local or global processing. In Experiment 1, 26 participants completed four rod-bisection tasks. The rods were compound stimuli and the participants directed to focus on either the local or global level. The results demonstrated that when participants focused on the global level, the previous dissociations found for pointing and grasping conditions were evident. However, the perception of centre did change when participants focused on the local level: both the pointing and grasping responses were rightward biased. In Experiment 2, 42 participants completed three bisection tasks which again emphasised either the local or global level, but in different sets of stimuli. The results of this task further support the findings in Experiment 1: the rightward bias in the local-bisection task was again evident and in addition, the global-bisection task resulted in no bias and no difference between the pointing and grasping bisections. These results demonstrate how task demands can similarly affect the pointing and grasping responses, and indicate that local and global processing may be involved in perception/action dissociations on rod bisection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-81
Number of pages11
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


  • Action
  • Local and global processing
  • Perception
  • Pseudoneglect

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