Improved Accuracy on Lateralized Spatial Judgments in Healthy Aging

Congratulations Dana Szeles and Dr. Kenneth Heilman on the publication of “Improved Accuracy on Lateralized Spatial Judgments in Healthy Aging,” in the September issue of the Journal of International Neuropsychological Society.


Objectives:Healthy young adults often demonstrate a leftward spatial bias called “pseudoneglect” which often diminishes with aging. One hypothesis for this phenomenon is an age-related deterioration in right hemisphere functions (right hemi-aging). If true, then a greater rightward bias should be evident on all spatial attention tasks regardless of content. Another hypothesis is a decrease in asymmetrical hemispheric activation with age (HAROLD). If true, older participants may show reduced bias in all spatial tasks, regardless of leftward or rightward biasing of specific spatial content.

Methods:Seventy right-handed healthy participants, 33 younger (21–40) and 37 older (60–78), were asked to bisect solid and character-letter lines as well as to perform left and right trisections of solid lines.

Results:Both groups deviated toward the left on solid line bisections and left trisections. Both groups deviated toward the right on right trisections and character line bisections. In all tasks, the older participants were more accurate than the younger participants.

Conclusions:The finding that older participants were more accurate than younger participants across all bisection and trisection conditions suggests a decrease in the asymmetrical hemispheric activation of these specialized networks important in the allocation of contralateral spatial attention or spatial action intention.