Biases of spatial attention in vision and audition

Yamaya Sosa, Wolfgang A. Teder-Sälejärvi, Mark E. McCourt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Neurologically normal observers misperceive the midpoint of horizontal lines as systematically leftward of veridical center, a phenomenon known as pseudoneglect. Pseudoneglect is attributed to a tonic asymmetry of visuospatial attention favoring left hemispace. Whereas visuospatial attention is biased toward left hemispace, some evidence suggests that audiospatial attention may possess a right hemispatial bias. If spatial attention is supramodal, then the leftward bias observed in visual line bisection should also be expressed in auditory bisection tasks. If spatial attention is modality specific then bisection errors in visual and auditory spatial judgments are potentially dissociable. Subjects performed a bisection task for spatial intervals defined by auditory stimuli, as well as a tachistoscopic visual line bisection task. Subjects showed a significant leftward bias in the visual line bisection task and a significant rightward bias in the auditory interval bisection task. Performance across both tasks was, however, significantly positively correlated. These results imply the existence of both modality specific and supramodal attentional mechanisms where visuospatial attention has a prepotent leftward vector and audiospatial attention has a prepotent rightward vector of attention. In addition, the biases of both visuospatial and audiospatial attention are correlated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-235
Number of pages7
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Audiospatial attention
  • Line bisection
  • Pseudoneglect
  • Visuospatial attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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