Does Pseudoneglect Modifies The Visuospatial After-Effects Of Vertical Prism Adaptation?

Congratulations to Dr. Kenneth Heilman on the publication of “Does Pseudoneglect Modifies The Visuospatial After-Effects Of Vertical Prism Adaptation?,” which appears in the December issue of Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.



The prism adaptation (PA) with rightward shifting lenses is a promising rehabilitation technique for left hemispatial neglect. The PA has also been applied in healthy individuals to investigate cognitive mechanism(s) underlining such adaptation. Importantly, studies have suggested that PA may primarily impact the functions of the dorsal or the ventral attentional stream, and we have previously reported that PA to the upward and downward shifting lenses leads to a significant aftereffect in vertical line bisection task. However, this post-adaptation effect, similarly to that seen in the horizontal plane, might have been modified by the presence of the vertical pseudoneglect healthy participants often experience prior to PA. Thus, the aim of this study was to test this hypothesis.

Participants and Methods:

30 right-handed healthy adults (age M=22,4) performed a computerized line bisection (LB) in vertical and horizontal condition. The bisections were performed twice: before and after PA procedure. Participants took experimental procedure three times, each in at least 24 h of break, each time in one of three conditions of shifting lenses; down, up, control. Both LB tasks (vertical and horizontal) consisted of 24 lines, each centered on 23″ touch screen. The participants were asked to find the middle of the line. Throughout the experiment, participants were comfortably seated with their head positioned on a chinrest. Participants were fitted with prismatic goggles that deviated their visual field by 10 degrees. For the adaptation we used the Peg-the-mole procedure consisting of 120 pointing movements.


To assess the effect of the vertical PA on landmark judgments we performed a repeated measures ANOVA with direction of PA (upward/downward), the condition of LB (vertical/ horizontal) and pre- vs post adaptation as a between-subjects factor. This analysis revealed a main effect of the direction of PA (p< 0.001) and a main effect of condition (p< 0.001). Overall, however, only adaptation in up-shifting lenses led to significant aftereffects (p<0.05). Further, when we excluded participants who did not exhibited horizontal pseudoneglect in preadaptation LB, the effect of PA in downshifting PA emerged in vertical LB (p<0.05). Further, this group also exhibited the aftereffect of PA in up-shifting lenses for the horizontal (p<0.01) and the vertical LB (p<0.05). Additionally, these participants exhibited a congruent tendency after upward and downward PA, and tended to allocate their attention more upward and rightward.


The results of this study confirm that the vertical PA evokes a visuo-spatial bias. Moreover, the PA aftereffect seems to be modified by the presence of the pre-adaptation pseudoneglect. Whereas the mechanism inducing this bias is not fully known, it might be explained in light of the interhemispheric activation-inhibition balance. Both the upward and downward PA may primarily lead to activation of the posterior regions of the right hemisphere, and this activation may result with the upward and rightward bias in the LB task. However, future research with neuroimaging techniques is needed to test this hypothesis.