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Competition-Induced Visual Field Differences in Search

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Do visual field effects point to differences in cortical representation, or do they reflect differences in the way these representations are used by other brain regions? This study explored three attributes of visual search that provide strong evidence in favor of differences in use. Competition refers to the finding that visual field differences in search efficiency are larger in whole- than in half-field displays (both left-right and upper-lower half-fields). Task specialization refers to the finding that some tasks favor one hemisphere whereas other tasks favor the other hemisphere, even though the same stimulus displays are used in both tasks. Anatomical alignment refers to the finding that competition effects are altered if the quadrants of the visual display are not aligned with the cortical quadrants of the observer. We propose that visual field specialization in search is the result of a competition involving limited access to cortical visual representations by the extended neural networks of attention.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of British Columbia, Canada

Publication date: 2000-09-01

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