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Word recognition processes modulate the naso-temporal asymmetry of the human visual field

Lavidor, Michal; Alexander, Tim; McGraw, Paul V.


Michal Lavidor

Paul V. McGraw


Many visual tasks display a well-documented naso-temporal asymmetry (NTA), where sensitivity is greater to stimuli presented in the temporal hemifield. Four-letter strings were presented at various eccentricities under monocular vision conditions, and observers were asked to classify the stimuli as 'words' or 'non-words' in a lexical decision task (experiment 1). In experiment 2, the same observers had to classify the stimuli as 'darker' or 'lighter' (contrast discrimination). Apart from the task, the visual conditions and stimuli were identical in both experiments. The typical temporal hemifield advantage was found for a contrast discrimination task in both English and Hebrew readers, but only for lexical decision judgments in Hebrew readers. The lack of the expected NTA in English readers that was observed only for a reading but not a low-level visual task indicates that language lateralisation and reading-related learning can override fundamental, anatomically based, visual asymmetries.


Lavidor, M., Alexander, T., & McGraw, P. V. (2009). Word recognition processes modulate the naso-temporal asymmetry of the human visual field. Perception, 38(10), 1536-1541.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 31, 2009
Publication Date Dec 1, 2009
Print ISSN 0301-0066
Electronic ISSN 1468-4233
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 10
Pages 1536-1541
Keywords Experimental and Cognitive Psychology; Sensory Systems; Artificial Intelligence; General Medicine
Public URL