Hemifield or hemispace: what accounts for the ipsilateral advantages in visually guided aiming?

Exp Brain Res. 2013 Oct;230(3):323-31. doi: 10.1007/s00221-013-3657-3. Epub 2013 Aug 18.


Aiming movements to targets presented on the same side as the reaching limb are faster and more accurate than movements made across the body. These advantages are typically attributed to within-hemisphere sensorimotor control. However, contrary to the within- versus between-hemisphere model, we have shown that some of these advantages tend to go with the side of the movement, rather than the side of the target (Carey et al. Exp Brain Res 112:496-504, 1996; Carey and Otto-de Haart Neuropsychologia 39:894, 2001). Barthélémy and Boulinghez (Exp Brain Res 147:305-312, 2002) acknowledge that our biomechanical account fits data for post-onset movement parameters such as peak velocity and duration, yet they report evidence for some within- versus between-hemisphere contributions to reaction time (RT) advantages. To examine a possible difference between early and late movement kinematics fitting these alternative models, we have dissociated field and space in a different way, which required arm movements with differential inertial consequences, as well as unpredictability of target location in terms of visual field. The data suggest that visual field may contribute some of the variance to hemispatial effects, but only for the right hand. In a second experiment, we used an antipointing task to examine hemispatial versus visual field effects on RTs and to revisit the possible hand difference identified in experiment 1. We found that hemispace accounted for all of the ipsilateral advantages, including RT, for both right and left hands. Results are discussed in terms of the computational requirements of eye-hand coordination in relative unconstrained conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time
  • Visual Fields / physiology*
  • Young Adult