Through Doorways and Down Corridors: Investigating Asymmetries During Computer Maze Navigation

Nicole A. Thomas, Owen S. Gwinn, Megan L. Bartlett, Michael E. R. Nicholls

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Pseudoneglect causes neurologically intact individuals to bias their attention to the left in near space, and to the right in far space. These attentional asymmetries impact both ambulatory and non-ambulatory activities, causing individuals to deviate rightward. While most studies investigating real-world navigation have found a rightward deviation when passing through a door, some have found the opposite pattern for corridors. To explore this dissociation, the current experiment explicitly compared navigation through doorways and corridors. To allow for a direct comparison between these two environments, the navigation task was undertaken in a simulated environment. Dextral participants (n = 98) completed several trials in either the doorway or corridor condition and their mean lateral position and variance was analysed. A rightward deviation was observed for doorways, consistent with previous research. Rightward biases were also observed for corridors, irrespective of the position within the corridor. The results argue against an explanation based on near/far space for the leftward bias in corridors. An explanation based on elevation of view is proposed as an alternative. The study also demonstrates that simulated environments provide an efficient means of investigating asymmetries in navigation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cognition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2020


  • attentional asymmetries
  • navigation
  • elevation of view


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