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Reliability of non‐verbal laterality effects in the visual modality

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The present experiment investigated the reliability and magnitude of laterality effects in a non-verbal task in the visual modality. The use of a bilateral discrimination task in which participants indicated whether a centrally presented probe stimulus matched either of the bilaterally presented targets was presumed to provide control over attention deployment. This led to the prediction that a reliable left visual field advantage (LVFA) would be obtained. A total of 40 right-handed undergraduate students completed the bilateral discrimination task twice in a test-retest design. Although relatively large test-retest correlations suggested that the laterality effect was quite reliable, a significant LVFA was obtained in the first testing session, and a right visual field advantage in the second one. This finding parallels results obtained in previous work with non-verbal tasks and supports the notion that practice affects the direction of laterality effects. The discussion examines alternative explanations with emphasis on practice effects and possible attentional factors. A possible shift in the bivariate distribution of laterality scores is used as a tentative explanation of the apparent contradiction between the high test-retest reliability and the shift in laterality with practice.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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