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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

March 2009, Vol. 21, No. 3, Pages 474-488
(doi: 10.1162/jocn.2009.21038)
© 2008 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
On Why Left Events are the Right Ones: Neural Mechanisms Underlying the Left-hemifield Advantage in Rapid Serial Visual Presentation
Article PDF (307.5 KB)
Abstract

When simultaneous series of stimuli are rapidly presented left and right, containing two target stimuli T1 and T2, T2 is much better identified when presented in the left than in the right hemifield. Here, this effect was replicated, even when shifts of gaze were controlled, and was only partially compensated when T1 side provided the cue where to expect T2. Electrophysiological measurement revealed earlier latencies of T1- and T2-evoked N2pc peaks at the right than at the left visual cortex, and larger right-hemisphere T2-evoked N2pc amplitudes when T2 closely followed T1. These findings suggest that the right hemisphere was better able to single out the targets in time. Further, sustained contralateral slow shifts remained active after T1 for longer time at the right than at the left visual cortex, and developed more consistently at the right visual cortex when expecting T2 on the contralateral side. These findings might reflect better capacity of right-hemisphere visual working memory. These findings about the neurophysiological underpinnings of the large right-hemisphere advantage in this complex visual task might help elucidating the mechanisms responsible for the severe disturbance of hemineglect following damage to the right hemisphere.