Hemispheric biases and the control of visuospatial attention: an ERP study.

Research paper by Kevin M KM Spencer, Marie T MT Banich

Indexed on: 27 Aug '05Published on: 27 Aug '05Published in: BMC Neuroscience


We examined whether individual differences in hemispheric utilization can interact with the intrinsic attentional biases of the cerebral hemispheres. Evidence suggests that the hemispheres have competing biases to direct attention contralaterally, with the left hemisphere (LH) having a stronger bias than the right hemisphere. There is also evidence that individuals have characteristic biases to utilize one hemisphere more than the other for processing information, which can induce a bias to direct attention to contralateral space. We predicted that LH-biased individuals would display a strong rightward attentional bias, which would create difficulty in selectively attending to target stimuli in the left visual field (LVF) as compared to right in the performance of a bilateral flanker task.Consistent with our hypothesis, flanker interference effects were found on the N2c event-related brain potential and error rate for LH-biased individuals in the Attend-LVF condition. The error rate effect was correlated with the degree of hemispheric utilization bias for the LH-Bias group.We conclude that hemispheric utilization bias can enhance a hemisphere's contralateral attentional bias, at least for individuals with a LH utilization bias. Hemispheric utilization bias may play an important and largely unrecognized role in visuospatial attention.