Asymmetrical distractibility of global and focal visuospatial attention during segmental and total compound line bisections.

Background/Objectives: Compound horizontal lines are composed of 2 segments of unequal length and width. Line bisection requires that the participants attend to the entire line (global attention). The longer segment often distracts participants, suggesting that attention directed to this segment (focal attention) disrupts the allocation of global attention. This study attempted to learn whether the allocation of focal attention to a line segment is distracted by global attention allocated to the entire line and whether there are right-left distraction asymmetries when allocating focal or global attention. Method: Twenty-four healthy adults (12 > 65 years old) attempted to bisect horizontal lines composed of 2 segments of unequal length, with the larger segment placed to the right or left. They were also asked to bisect the longer segment of these lines. Results: When allocating focal attention to the larger segment, healthy participants were more distracted when the smaller segment was on the left than on the right. In contrast, when attempting to allocate global attention to the entire line, participants were more distracted when the larger segment was on the right side. There were no significant differences between older and younger participants. Conclusions: The asymmetrical global distraction during segment bisection might be related to the right hemisphere’s dominance in mediating global attention and allocating attention leftward. In contrast, the asymmetrical focal distraction during full-line bisection might be related to the left hemisphere’s dominance in mediating focal attention and allocating attention toward the right. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)