Trunk rotation affects temporal order judgments with direct saccades: Influence of handedness

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Manipulation of the trunk midline has been shown to improve visuospatial performance in patients with unilateral visual neglect. The goal of the present study was to disentangle motor and perceptual components of egocentric midline manipulations and to investigate the contribution of individual hand preference. Two versions of visual temporal order judgment (TOJ) tasks were tested in healthy right- and left-handed subjects while trunk rotation was varied. In the congruent version, subjects were required to execute a saccade to the first of two horizontal stimuli presented with different stimulus onset asynchronies (SOA). In the incongruent version, subjects were required to perform a vertical saccade to a pre-learned color target, thereby dissociating motor response from the perceptual stimulus location. The main findings of this study are a trunk rotation and response direction specific impact on temporal judgments in form of a prior entry bias for right hemifield stimuli during rightward trunk rotation, but only in the congruent task. This trunk rotation-induced spatial bias was most pronounced in left-handed participants but had the same sign in the right-handed group. Results suggest that egocentric midline shifts in healthy subjects induce a spatially-specific motor, but not a perceptual, bias and underline the importance of taking individual differences in functional laterality such as handedness and mode of perceptual report into account when evaluating effects of trunk rotation in either healthy subjects or neurological patients.

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