Coding left and right

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Compared the processing of direction for up and down and left and right arrows in visual displays. 64 undergraduates took part in 5 experiments. Exp I demonstrated that it is more difficult to deal with left and right than with up and down when differentiating between the two directions than when orienting to them. Exps II and III showed that telling left from right is harder regardless of whether the responses are manual or verbal. Exp IV showed that left-right discriminations take longer than up-down discriminations for judgments of position as well as direction. In Exp V it was found that position information can intrude on direction judgments both within a dimension (e.g., a left arrow to the left of fixation is judged faster than a left arrow to the right of fixation) and across dimensions (e.g., judging vertically positioned left and right arrows is more difficult than judging horizontally positioned left and right arrows). There was indirect evidence in these experiments that although the spatial codes for up and down are asymmetrical, the codes for left and right may be less so; this in turn could account for the greater difficulty of discriminating left from right. (25 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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