Evidence for two types of spatial representations: hemispheric specialization for categorical and coordinate relations

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1989 Nov;15(4):723-35. doi: 10.1037//0096-1523.15.4.723.


Analyses of human object recognition abilities led to the hypothesis that 2 kinds of spatial relation representations are used in human vision. Evidence for the distinction between abstract categorical spatial relation representations and specific coordinate spatial relation representations was provided in 4 experiments. These results indicate that Ss make categorical judgments--on/off, left/right, and above/below--faster when stimuli are initially presented to the left cerebral hemisphere, whereas they make evaluations of distance--in relation to 2 mm, 3 mm, or 1 in. (2.54 cm)--faster when stimuli are initially presented to the right cerebral hemisphere. In addition, there was evidence that categorical representations developed with practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Concept Formation*
  • Discrimination Learning*
  • Distance Perception
  • Dominance, Cerebral*
  • Form Perception*
  • Generalization, Stimulus
  • Humans
  • Orientation*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Reaction Time