A rightward shift in the visuospatial attention vector with healthy aging

Benwell, C. S.Y., Thut, G. , Grant, A. and Harvey, M. (2014) A rightward shift in the visuospatial attention vector with healthy aging. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 6(113), (doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00113)

93991.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2014.00113


The study of lateralised visuospatial attention bias in non-clinical samples has revealed a systematic group-level leftward bias (pseudoneglect), possibly as a consequence of right hemisphere dominance for visuospatial attention. Pseudoneglect appears to be modulated by age, with a reduced or even reversed bias typically present in elderly participants. It has been suggested that this shift in bias may arise due to disproportionate aging of the right hemisphere and/or an increase in complementary functional recruitment of the left hemisphere for visuospatial processing. In this study, we report rightward shifts in subjective midpoint judgement relative to healthy young participants whilst elderly participants performed a computerized version of the landmark task (in which they had to judge whether a transection mark appeared closer to the right or left end of a line) on three different line lengths. This manipulation of stimulus properties led to a similar behavioural pattern in both the young and the elderly: a rightward shift in subjective midpoint with decreasing line length, which even resulted in a systematic rightward bias in elderly participants for the shortest line length (1.98° of visual angle). Overall performance precision for the task was lower in the elderly participants regardless of line length, suggesting reduced landmark task discrimination sensitivity with healthy aging. This rightward shift in the attentional vector with healthy aging is likely to result from a reduction in right hemisphere resources/dominance for attentional processing in elderly participants. The significant rightward bias in the elderly for short lines may even suggest a reversal of hemisphere dominance in favour of the left hemisphere/right visual field under specific conditions.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Benwell, Mr Christopher and Thut, Professor Gregor and Harvey, Professor Monika
Authors: Benwell, C. S.Y., Thut, G., Grant, A., and Harvey, M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience
ISSN (Online):1663-4365
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 The Authors
First Published:First published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 6(113)
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept