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Roger W. Strong, George A. Alvarez; Hemifield-specific control of spatial attention and working memory: Evidence from hemifield crossover costs. Journal of Vision 2020;20(8):24. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.8.24.
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Attentional tracking and working memory tasks are often performed better when targets are divided evenly between the left and right visual hemifields, rather than contained within a single hemifield (Alvarez & Cavanagh, 2005; Delvenne, 2005). However, this bilateral field advantage does not provide conclusive evidence of hemifield-specific control of attention and working memory, because it can be explained solely from hemifield-limited spatial interference at early stages of visual processing. If control of attention and working memory is specific to each hemifield, maintaining target information should become more difficult as targets move between the two hemifields. Observers in the present study maintained targets that moved either within or between the left and right hemifields, using either attention (Experiment 1) or working memory (Experiment 2). Maintaining spatial information was more difficult when target items moved between the hemifields compared with when target items moved within their original hemifields, consistent with hemifield-specific control of spatial attention and working memory. However, this pattern was not found for maintaining identity information (e.g., color) in working memory (Experiment 3). Together, these results provide evidence that control of spatial attention and working memory is specific to each hemifield, and that hemifield-specific control is a unique signature of spatial processing.
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