The left visual field attentional advantage: No evidence of different speeds of processing across visual hemifields

Conscious Cogn. 2015 Dec;37:16-26. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2015.08.004. Epub 2015 Aug 8.


Temporal-order judgment (TOJ) and simultaneity judgment (SJ) tasks are used to study differences in speed of processing across sensory modalities, stimulus types, or experimental conditions. Matthews and Welch (2015) reported that observed performance in SJ and TOJ tasks is superior when visual stimuli are presented in the left visual field (LVF) compared to the right visual field (RVF), revealing an LVF advantage presumably reflecting attentional influences. Because observed performance reflects the interplay of perceptual and decisional processes involved in carrying out the tasks, analyses that separate out these influences are needed to determine the origin of the LVF advantage. We re-analyzed the data of Matthews and Welch (2015) using a model of performance in SJ and TOJ tasks that separates out these influences. Parameter estimates capturing the operation of perceptual processes did not differ between hemifields by these analyses, whereas parameter estimates capturing the operation of decisional processes differed. In line with other evidence, perceptual processing also did not differ between SJ and TOJ tasks. Thus, the LVF advantage occurs with identical speeds of processing in both visual hemifields. If attention is responsible for the LVF advantage, it does not exert its influence via prior entry.

Keywords: Decisional processes; Simultaneity; Temporal order; Timing processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Judgment / physiology*
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Fields / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*