August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
Which side are you on? An exploration of hemispheric specialization and visual attention.
Author Affiliations
  • Bonnie Angelone
    Psychology Department, Rowan University
  • Vincent Coppola
    Psychology Department, Rowan University
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 663. doi:
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      Bonnie Angelone, Vincent Coppola; Which side are you on? An exploration of hemispheric specialization and visual attention.. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):663.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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While the two hemispheres of the brain work together, research examining many sensory realms has shown that they are also specialized for different tasks. Generally, the dichotomy of the left and right hemispheres has focused on linguistic abilities; however, Kosslyn (1987) suggests a visual information-processing dichotomy in that the left hemisphere is superior at processing categorical visual information and the right hemisphere is specialized for processing spatial visual information. The purpose of the current study was to examine a possible right and left hemisphere difference in change detection performance. Based on Kosslyn’s (1987) findings, it was hypothesized that there would be superior performance for detecting identity changes (more categorical) in the left hemisphere and superior performance for detecting configuration changes (more spatial) in the right hemisphere. Observers view an array of three shapes presented to either the left or right visual field. The initial array was presented for 150ms followed by an 80ms blank screen that was then followed by either an array of three new shapes in the same positions (identity change) or an array of the same shapes in three different positions (configuration change; final array present for 150ms). Observers also viewed no change trials and their task was to determine, as quickly as possible, whether a change had occurred. There were no differences in change detection accuracy for hemisphere and type of change. For reaction time performance, there was a marginally significant difference for configuration changes, but no effect for identity changes. Reaction time for configuration changes was faster when presented to the right hemisphere compared to the left hemisphere. This may suggest that a hemispheric dichotomy exists for visual attention related to change detection and future research should continue this investigation.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012


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