Attentional deployment in visual half-field tasks: The effect of cue position on word naming latency Academic Article uri icon


  • Divided visual-field research suggests that attentional factors may contribute to the left hemisphere's (LH) superiority for language processing. The LH's parallel recognition strategy, specialised for whole word encoding, is largely unaffected by the distribution of spatial attention. In contrast, the right hemisphere's (RH) serial, letter-by-letter strategy places far greater demands on attentional resources. By manipulating spatial attention, the present study gauged the effect of cueing the beginning vs. the end of the word on LH and RH naming latency. Results indicated no effect of cue position on LH performance, consistent with research indicating that the LH enjoys an attentional advantage, deploying attention in parallel across the stimulus. As anticipated, the RH showed a facilitatory effect of beginning cue, which draws spatial attention to the initial letter cluster, enabling efficient implementation of the RH's sequential strategy. These findings suggest that differences in attentional deployment contribute to hemispheric asymmetries for word recognition.

publication date

  • November 2003