Developmental Trajectory of Pseudoneglect in Adults Using the Greyscales Task

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Abstract

Neurologically healthy adults display a reliable but slight leftward spatial bias, and this bias appears to change with age (Jewell & McCourt, 2000). Studies using line bisection and the landmark task to investigate pseudoneglect in participants over 60 years of age have shown suppression and near reversal of the leftward response bias. The current research investigates the developmental trajectory of perceptual biases using the greyscales task—a task that exhibits strengths compared to the line bisection and landmark task, as it generates a stronger and more consistent bias. Participants ranging from 18 to 88 years of age viewed 40 asymmetrical equiluminant gradient pairs with each stimulus appearing darker on the left and right side. Overall, a negative correlation was found between a leftward response bias and age, r(492) = −.154, p < .001, with the oldest age group (80–89 year olds) exhibiting a significantly stronger leftward bias compared to youngest age group (18–29 year olds), p = .016. These findings are in contrast with previous research proposing a reduced bias in perceptual attention among older adults, and suggest that further research is needed to understand the reliability of age-related changes in spatial attention. The findings also contribute to the understanding of developmental changes in allocation of spatial attention over the adult life span.

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