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A comparison of upper vs. lower and right vs. left visual fields using lexical decision

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A series of experiments using the lexical decision task was conducted in order to investigate the functional differences between the upper and lower visual fields (UVF, LoVF) in word recognition. Word–nonword discrimination was swifter and more accurate for word stimuli presented in the UVF. Changing the eccentricity did not affect the UVF advantage over the LoVF. UVF superiority over LoVF was found to be equivalent for both right and left visual hemifield (RVF, LVF). In general, presenting related word primes enhanced all visual field differences in a similar manner (UVF over LoVF and RVF over LVF). However, primes consisting of semantically constraining sentences enhanced the RVF advantage over the LVF, but did not affect the UVF and LoVF differentially. The argument is made that UVF superiority cannot be due to perceptual or attentional differences alone, but must also reflect top-down information flow.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2001


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