Vertical pseudoneglect: Sensory-attentional versus action-intentional

Congratulations Drs. Benjamin A. Chapin, K. Pisanuwongrak, John B. Williamson, and Kenneth Heilman on the publication of “Vertical pseudoneglect: Sensory-attentional versus action-intentional,” in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology’s July edition.


Healthy persons demonstrate an upward bias on the vertical-line bisection test (vertical or “altitudinal” pseudoneglect). This bias might be sensory-attentional or action-intentional in origin. To test the action-intention hypothesis, we analyze whether the direction of action has an effect on altitudinal pseudoneglect.


Twenty-four healthy right-handed adults performed vertical-line bisection on an apparatus designed to distinguish the effects of sensory-attention and action-intention. Depending on hand placement, participants estimated line midpoints with a marker that moved in the same (congruent) or opposite (incongruent) direction as their hand movements. Two binary factors – hand movement in the upward versus downward direction and congruent vs incongruent hand movements – produced four conditions.


There was upward deviation from the midline across all conditions. Bisections in the incongruent condition were higher than in the congruent condition. Bisections were also higher with upward hand movements than with downward hand movements. There was not a significant interaction between these factors.


These results suggest that vertical pseudoneglect is primarily influenced by the allocation of allocentric attention, rather than action-intention. However, action-perceptual spatial incongruence increased this deviation. Perhaps the incongruent condition requires greater allocation of attention, but further exploration is needed. Additionally, these results suggest that visual attention follows the direction of motor action. Future studies of visual attention should consider the potential influence of this factor.