Lateral asymmetries in attentional priming during a semantic and a visuospatial task.

Research paper by C C Declerck, B B De Brabander

Indexed on: 17 Jul '01Published on: 17 Jul '01Published in: Perceptual and motor skills


This study tests the hypothesis that lateral cueing of attention activates the contralateral hemisphere and also that performance on a semantic and a visuospatial task will differentially be affected depending on the visual field (right or left) to which attention was drawn. In an experimental setting, 68 subjects performed both a semantic and a visuospatial discriminating task, whereby visual priming signals unbeknownst were presented to either the left or the right visual field. For the semantic task (which is believed to engage primarily the left hemisphere) priming signals enhanced performance more when they were presented to the right visual field. For the visuospatial task, no difference was found between priming signals presented in either visual field. While there may be several alternative explanations for the observed difference in the effects of the priming signals presented to different visual fields, the importance of separating the components inherent in the tasks is stressed. While the process of decision-making may involve different relative activation of the two hemispheres, depending on whether the stimuli are semantic or visuospatial in nature, performance on the task also involves manual coordination which will depend especially on motor activation in the left hemisphere.