ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that memories for positions are often distorted in systematic ways, indicating the influence of categorical positions codes which can bias responses in object-relocation tasks towards stored spatial prototypes. In the present study, we examined the time course of these categorical influences. Subjects had to relocate the position of a tachistoscopically presented dot within a circle, which could appear in either the left visual field (i.e. initially to the right hemisphere) or the right visual field (i.e. initially to the left hemisphere). Three retention intervals between presentation and relocation were used: 500, 2000 and 5000 ms. Performance was most accurate with left visual field/right hemisphere presentation. Systematic distortions were found for angular errors (dot relocations regressed towards the 45 degrees with a quadrant) as well as for radial errors (dots were replaced in the direction of the circle's circumference, and this more so when the dot was further away from the circumference). Importantly, these categorical biases became stronger with retention interval and initial left hemispheric processing. These results suggest that categorical spatial coding might be the default manner in which spatial information is remembered over time. Finally, the left hemisphere may play an important role for such a categorical spatial coding.
Neuropsychologia 02/2006; 44(10):1914-8. · 3.64 Impact Factor