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Differences in visual attention and task interference between males and females reflect differences in brain laterality

Differences in visual attention and task interference between males and females reflect differences in brain laterality
Differences in visual attention and task interference between males and females reflect differences in brain laterality
Two cognitive tasks (a letter memory task and a spatial memory task) designed to selectively activate the left or right hemisphere were combined with attentional probe tasks to measure how hemispheric activation affects attention to left and right hemifields. The probe task in Experiment 1 required the identification of digits in the left and right hemifield. During the letter task, male subjects identified more probes from the left hemifield than from the right. Their accuracy varied little across the two hemifields during the dots task.
Experiment 2 tested whether this pattern is due to either spatial attention or interference in character processing. Instead of identifying digits, the probe task required subjects to respond to a black square that appeared in the periphery of the screen. For male subjects, the pattern was opposite of that from Experiment 1. During the letter task they responded faster to the probe in the right hemifield than in the left. Their response times were equivalent across the two hemifields during the dots task.
These results indicate two separate effects of laterality in male subjects. The activation of one hemisphere produced more attention to the contralateral hemifield in Experiment 2, and the letter memory task interfered with the processing of other characters in the right visual field more than those in the left visual field in Experiment 1. Neither of these effects appeared in female subjects, corroborating earlier claims that female brains are less lateralized than male brains.
visual selection, character recognition, hemispheres, spatial probes, sex differences, orienting
0028-3932
508-519
Davidson, Heather
33c1590b-2cdd-4b2f-ba51-22a27ad5f23b
Cave, Kyle R.
38f1020d-3cf6-4165-b462-4d9efd448790
Sellner, Daniela
05edff18-83ee-4392-8c7e-9c85433dd138
Davidson, Heather
33c1590b-2cdd-4b2f-ba51-22a27ad5f23b
Cave, Kyle R.
38f1020d-3cf6-4165-b462-4d9efd448790
Sellner, Daniela
05edff18-83ee-4392-8c7e-9c85433dd138

Davidson, Heather, Cave, Kyle R. and Sellner, Daniela (2000) Differences in visual attention and task interference between males and females reflect differences in brain laterality. Neuropsychologia, 38 (4), 508-519. (doi:10.1016/S0028-3932(99)00084-6).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Two cognitive tasks (a letter memory task and a spatial memory task) designed to selectively activate the left or right hemisphere were combined with attentional probe tasks to measure how hemispheric activation affects attention to left and right hemifields. The probe task in Experiment 1 required the identification of digits in the left and right hemifield. During the letter task, male subjects identified more probes from the left hemifield than from the right. Their accuracy varied little across the two hemifields during the dots task.
Experiment 2 tested whether this pattern is due to either spatial attention or interference in character processing. Instead of identifying digits, the probe task required subjects to respond to a black square that appeared in the periphery of the screen. For male subjects, the pattern was opposite of that from Experiment 1. During the letter task they responded faster to the probe in the right hemifield than in the left. Their response times were equivalent across the two hemifields during the dots task.
These results indicate two separate effects of laterality in male subjects. The activation of one hemisphere produced more attention to the contralateral hemifield in Experiment 2, and the letter memory task interfered with the processing of other characters in the right visual field more than those in the left visual field in Experiment 1. Neither of these effects appeared in female subjects, corroborating earlier claims that female brains are less lateralized than male brains.

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More information

Published date: 2000
Keywords: visual selection, character recognition, hemispheres, spatial probes, sex differences, orienting

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 18416
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/18416
ISSN: 0028-3932
PURE UUID: 33077f1b-bde8-46ba-b4eb-4617ec420fb0

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Date deposited: 21 Dec 2005
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 19:28

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