The relationship between vertical stimulation and horizontal attentional asymmetries

Michael Nicholls, Nicole Thomas, Tobias Loetscher, Sophie Wignall, Mark Yates, Jason Forte, Charles Spence

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    The original aim was to examine the effect of perceived distance, induced by the Ponzo illusion, on left/right asymmetries for line bisection. In Experiment 1, university students (n = 29) made left/right bisection judgements for lines presented in the lower or upper half of the screen against backgrounds of the Ponzo stimuli, or a baseline. While the Ponzo illusion had relatively little effect on line bisection, elevation in the baseline condition had a strong effect, whereby the leftward bias was increased for upper lines. Experiment 2 (n = 17) eliminated the effect of elevation by presenting the line in the middle and moving the Ponzo stimuli relative to the line. Despite this change, the leftward bias was still stronger in the upper condition in the baseline condition. The final experiment (n = 17) investigated whether upper/lower visual stimulation, which was irrelevant to the task, affected asymmetries for line bisection. The results revealed that a rectangle presented in the upper half of the screen increased the leftward line bisection bias relative to a baseline and lower stimulation condition. These results corroborate neuroimaging research, showing increased right parietal activation associated with shifts of attention into the upper hemispace. This increased right parietal activation may increase the leftward attentional bias-resulting in a stronger leftward bias for line bisection.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2384-2396
    Number of pages13
    JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


    • Attention
    • Line bisection
    • Neglect
    • Pseudoneglect


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