Hemispheric asymmetries for temporal information processing: Transient detection versus sustained monitoring

Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia.
Brain and Cognition (Impact Factor: 2.48). 04/2008; 66(2):168-75. DOI: 10.1016/j.bandc.2007.07.002
Source: PubMed


This study investigated functional differences in the processing of visual temporal information between the left and right hemispheres (LH and RH). Participants indicated whether or not a checkerboard pattern contained a temporal gap lasting between 10 and 40 ms. When the stimulus contained a temporal signal (i.e. a gap), responses were more accurate for the right visual field-left hemisphere (RVF-LH) than for the left visual field-right hemisphere (LVF-RH). This RVF-LH advantage was larger for the shorter gap durations (Experiments 1 and 2), suggesting that the LH has finer temporal resolution than the RH, and is efficient for transient detection. In contrast, for noise trials (i.e. trial without temporal signals), there was a LVF-RH advantage. This LVF-RH advantage was observed when the entire stimulus duration was long (240 ms, Experiment 1), but was eliminated when the duration was short (120 ms, Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, where the gap was placed toward the end of the stimulus presentation, a LVF-RH advantage was found for noise trials whereas the RVF-LH advantage was eliminated for signal trials. It is likely that participants needed to monitor the stimulus for a longer period of time when the gap was absent (i.e. noise trials) or was placed toward the end of the presentation. The RH may therefore be more efficient in the sustained monitoring of visual temporal information whereas the LH is more efficient for transient detection.

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