Intra- and inter-task reliability of spatial attention measures in healthy older adults

Autoři: Gesine Märker aff001;  Gemma Learmonth aff001;  Gregor Thut aff001;  Monika Harvey aff002
Působiště autorů: Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom aff001;  School of Psychology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article


At present, there is a lack of systematic investigation into intra- and inter-task consistency effects in older adults, when investigating lateralised spatial attention. In young adults, spatial attention typically manifests itself in a processing advantage for the left side of space (“pseudoneglect”), whereas older adults have been reported to display no strongly lateralised bias, or a preference towards the right side. Building on our earlier study in young adults, we investigated older adults, aged between 60 to 86 years, on five commonly used spatial attention tasks (line bisection, landmark, grey and grating scales and lateralised visual detection). Results confirmed a stable test-retest reliability for each of the five spatial tasks across two testing days. However, contrary to our expectations of a consistent lack in bias or a rightward bias, two tasks elicited significant left spatial biases in our sample of older participants, in accordance with pseudoneglect (namely the line bisection and greyscales tasks), while the other three tasks (landmark, grating scales, and lateralised visual detection tasks) showed no significant biases to either side of space. This lack of inter-task correlations replicates recent findings in young adults. Comparing the two age groups revealed that only the landmark task was age sensitive, with a leftward bias in young adults and an eliminated bias in older adults. In view of these findings of no significant inter-task correlations, as well as the inconsistent directions of the observed spatial biases for the older adults across the five tested tasks, we argue that pseudoneglect is a multi-component phenomenon and highly task sensitive. Each task may engage slightly distinct neural mechanisms, likely to be impacted differently by age. This complicates generalisation and comparability of pseudoneglect effects across different tasks, age-groups and hence studies.

Klíčová slova:

Age groups – Aging – Attention – Elderly – Right hemisphere – Vision – Visual acuity – Young adults


1. Bowers D, Heilman KM. Pseudoneglect: effects of hemispace on a tactile line bisection task. Neuropsychologia. Pergamon; 1980;18: 491–8. doi: 10.1016/0028-3932(80)90151-7

2. Jewell G, McCourt ME. Pseudoneglect: A review and meta-analysis of performance factors in line bisection tasks. Neuropsychologia. 2000;38: 93–110. doi: 10.1016/s0028-3932(99)00045-7 10617294

3. Brooks JL, Della Sala S, Darling S. Representational pseudoneglect: A review. Neuropsychol Rev. United States; 2014;24: 148–165. doi: 10.1007/s11065-013-9245-2 24414221

4. Heilman KM, Abell TVD. Right hemisphere dominance for attention: The mechanism underlying hemispheric asymmetries of inattention (neglect). Neurology. Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of the American Academy of Neurology; 1980;30: 327–327. doi: 10.1212/WNL.30.3.327 7189037

5. Harvey M, Milner AD, Roberts RC. An Investigation of Hemispatial Neglect Using the Landmark Task. Brain Cogn. Academic Press; 1995;27: 59–78. doi: 10.1006/BRCG.1995.1004 7748546

6. Olk B, Harvey M. Effects of visible and invisible cueing on line bisection and Landmark performance in hemispatial neglect. Neuropsychologia. Pergamon; 2002;40: 282–290. doi: 10.1016/S0028-3932(01)00095-1

7. Friedrich TE, Hunter PV., Elias LJ. Developmental trajectory of pseudoneglect in adults using the greyscales task. Dev Psychol. 2016;52: 1937–1943. doi: 10.1037/dev0000202 27598252

8. Brooks JL, Darling S, Malvaso C, Della Sala S. Adult developmental trajectories of pseudoneglect in the tactile, visual and auditory modalities and the influence of starting position and stimulus length. Brain Cogn. Elsevier Inc.; 2016;103: 12–22. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2015.12.001 26799680

9. Learmonth G, Gallagher A, Gibson J, Thut G, Harvey M. Correction: Intra- and Inter-Task Reliability of Spatial Attention Measures in Pseudoneglect. PLoS One. Public Library of Science; 2018;13: e0205269. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205269 30278070

10. Learmonth G, Gallagher A, Gibson J, Thut G, Harvey M. Intra-and inter-task reliability of spatial attention measures in pseudoneglect. PLoS One. 2015;10: e0138379. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138379 26378925

11. Heber IA, Siebertz S, Wolter M, Kuhlen T, Fimm B. Horizontal and vertical pseudoneglect in peri- and extrapersonal space. Brain Cogn. Elsevier Inc.; 2010;73: 160–166. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2010.04.006 20537456

12. Luh KE. Line bisection and perceptual asymmetries in normal individuals: What you see is not what you get. Neuropsychology. 1995;9: 435–448. doi: 10.1037/0894-4105.9.4.435

13. Nicholls ME., Bradshaw JL, Mattingley JB. Free-viewing perceptual asymmetries for the judgement of brightness, numerosity and size. Neuropsychologia. Pergamon; 1999;37: 307–314. doi: 10.1016/S0028-3932(98)00074-8

14. Friedrich TE, Hunter PV., Elias LJ. The Trajectory of Pseudoneglect in Adults: A Systematic Review. Neuropsychol Rev. Neuropsychology Review; 2018;28: 436–452. doi: 10.1007/s11065-018-9392-6 30460436

15. Fujii T, Fukatsu R, Yamadori a, Kimura I. Effect of age on the line bisection test. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 1995;17: 941–4. doi: 10.1080/01688639508402443 8847400

16. Barrett AM, Craver-lemley CE. Is it what you see, or how you say it? Spatial bias in young and aged subjects. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. Cambridge University Press; 2008;14: 562–570. doi: 10.1017/S1355617708080764 18577285

17. Chen P, Goedert KM, Murray E, Kelly K, Ahmeti S, Barrett AM. Spatial bias and right hemisphere function: Sex-specific changes with aging. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. Cambridge University Press; 2011;17: 455–462. doi: 10.1017/S135561771100004X 21320378

18. Failla C V., Sheppard DM, Bradshaw JL. Age and responding-hand related changes in performance of neurologically normal subjects on the line-bisection and chimeric-faces tasks. Brain Cogn. Academic Press; 2003;52: 353–363. doi: 10.1016/S0278-2626(03)00181-7

19. Goedert KM, Leblanc A, Tsai SW, Barrett AM. Asymmetrical effects of adaptation to left- and right-Shifting prisms depends on pPre-existing attentional biases. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. Cambridge University Press; 2010;16: 795–804. doi: 10.1017/S1355617710000597 20598215

20. Halligan PW, Manning L, Marshall JC. Individual variation in line bisection: A study of four patients with right hemisphere damage and normal controls. Neuropsychologia. Pergamon; 1990;28: 1043–1051. doi: 10.1016/0028-3932(90)90139-F

21. Hatin B, Sykes Tottenham L, Oriet C. The relationship between collisions and pseudoneglect: is it right? Cortex. Elsevier Srl; 2012;48: 997–1008. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2011.05.015 21696716

22. De Agostini M, Curt F, Tzortzis C, Dellatolas G. Comparing left and right hand in line bisection at different ages. Dev Neuropsychol. 1999;15: 379–394. doi: 10.1080/87565649909540756

23. Learmonth G, Märker G, McBride N, Pellinen P, Harvey M. Right-lateralised lane keeping in young and older British drivers. PLoS One. 2018;13: 1–17. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0203549 30188952

24. Benwell CSY, Thut G, Grant A, Harvey M. A rightward shift in the visuospatial attention vector with healthy aging. Front Aging Neurosci. 2014;6: 1–11.

25. Schmitz R, Peigneux P. Age-related changes in visual pseudoneglect. Brain Cogn. Elsevier Inc.; 2011;76: 382–9. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2011.04.002 21536360

26. Schmitz R, Dehon H, Peigneux P. Lateralized processing of false memories and pseudoneglect in aging. Cortex. Elsevier; 2013;49: 1314–1324. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2012.06.005 22818903

27. Learmonth G, Benwell CSY, Thut G, Harvey M. Age-related reduction of hemispheric lateralisation for spatial attention: An EEG study. Neuroimage. Elsevier; 2017;153: 139–151. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.03.050 28343987

28. Niemeier M, Stojanoski B, Greco AL. Influences of time and spatial frequency on the perceptual bias: Evidence for competition between hemispheres. Neuropsychologia. Elsevier Ltd; 2007;45: 1029–1040. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2006.09.006 17049566

29. Mattingley JB, Berberovic N, Corben L, Slavin MJ, Nicholls MER, Bradshaw JL. The greyscales task: A perceptual measure of attentional bias following unilateral hemispheric damage. Neuropsychologia. 2004;42: 387–394. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2003.07.007 14670577

30. Hilgetag CC, Théoret H, Pascual-leone A. Enhanced visual spatial attention ipsilateral to rTMS-induced “virtual lesions” of human parietal cortex. Nat Neurosci. 2001;4: 953–957. doi: 10.1038/nn0901-953 11528429

31. Learmonth G, Thut G, Benwell CSY, Harvey M. The implications of state-dependent tDCS effects in aging: Behavioural response is determined by baseline performance. Neuropsychologia. Elsevier; 2015;74: 108–119. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.01.037 25637226

32. Nasreddine Z, Charbonneau S, Cummings JL. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment, MoCA: a brief screening tool for mild cognitive impairment. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2005;53: 695–699. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2005.53221.x 15817019

33. Milner a. D, Brechmann M, Pagliarini L. To halve and to halve not: An analysis of line bisection judgements in normal subjects. Neuropsychologia. 1992;30: 515–526. doi: 10.1016/0028-3932(92)90055-q 1641116

34. Borgo M, Soranzo A, Grassi M. MATLAB for Psychologists [Internet]. MATLAB for Psychologists. New York, NY: Springer New York; 2012.

35. Wilcox RR, Keselman HJ. Modern Robust Data Analysis Methods: Measures of Central Tendency. Psychol Methods. 2003;8: 254–274. doi: 10.1037/1082-989X.8.3.254 14596490

36. Varnava A, Halligan PW. Influence of Age and Sex on Line Bisection: A Study of Normal Performance with Implications for Visuospatial Neglect. Aging, Neuropsychol Cogn. 2007;14: 571–585. doi: 10.1080/13825580600826454 18038356

37. Beste C, Hamm JP, Hausmann M. Developmental changes in visual line bisection in women throughout adulthood. Dev Neuropsychol. 2006;30: 753–767. doi: 10.1207/s15326942dn3002_6 16995835

38. Manning L, Halligan PW, Marshall JC. Individual variation in line bisection: A study of normal subjects with application to the interpretation of visual neglect. Neuropsychologia. Pergamon; 1990;28: 647–655. doi: 10.1016/0028-3932(90)90119-9

39. Verdon V, Schwartz S, Lovblad K-O, Hauert C-A, Vuilleumier P. Neuroanatomy of hemispatial neglect and its functional components: a study using voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping. Brain. 2010;133: 880–894. doi: 10.1093/brain/awp305 20028714

40. Dolcos F, Rice HJ, Cabeza R. Hemispheric asymmetry and aging: Right hemisphere decline or asymmetry reduction. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2002;26: 819–825. doi: 10.1016/s0149-7634(02)00068-4 12470693

41. Reuter-Lorenz PA, Park DC. Human neuroscience and the aging mind: A new look at old problems. Journals Gerontol—Ser B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. Oxford University Press; 2010;65 B: 405–415. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbq035 20478901

42. Agnew HC, Phillips LH, Pilz KS. Visual attention, biological motion perception, and healthy ageing. Psychol Res. Springer Berlin Heidelberg; 2018;0: 0. doi: 10.1007/s00426-018-1068-6 30088079

43. Pilz KS, Cretenoud AF, Neumann K, Clarke A, Kunchulia M, Herzog MH. No Evidence for a Common Factor Underlying Visual Abilities in Healthy Older People. 2019;55: 1775–1787.

44. Cicek M, Deouell L, Knight R. Brain activity during landmark and line bisection tasks. Front Hum Neurosci. 2009;3: 7. doi: 10.3389/neuro.09.007.2009 19521543

45. Piazza EA, Silver MA. Relative spatial frequency processing drives hemispheric asymmetry in conscious awareness. Front Psychol. 2017;8: 1–7.

46. Costa TL, Nogueira RMTBL, Pereira AGF, Santos NA. Differential effects of aging on spatial contrast sensitivity to linear and polar sine-wave gratings. Brazilian J Med Biol Res. 2013;46: 855–860. doi: 10.1590/1414-431X20133117 24141613

47. Santos NA, Simas MLB, Nogueira RMTBL. Comparison of angular frequency contrast sensitivity in young and older adults [Internet]. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research. 2004.

48. Elliott S, Werner J. Age-related changes in contrast gain related to the M and P pathways. J Vis. Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Inc.; 2010;9: 1071–1071. doi: 10.1167/9.8.1071

49. McGrath C, Morrison JD. THE EFFECTS OF AGE ON SPATIAL FREQUENCY PERCEPTION IN HUMAN SUBJECTS. Q J Exp Physiol. Wiley/Blackwell (10.1111); 1981;66: 253–261. doi: 10.1113/expphysiol.1981.sp002554 6910727

50. Robertson IH, Manly T, Andrade J, Baddeley BT, Yiend J. `Oops!’: Performance correlates of everyday attentional failures in traumatic brain injured and normal subjects. Neuropsychologia. Pergamon; 1997;35: 747–758. doi: 10.1016/S0028-3932(97)00015-8

51. Chen J, Kaur J, Abbas H, Wu M, Luo W, Osman S, et al. Evidence for a common mechanism of spatial attention and visual awareness: Towards construct validity of pseudoneglect. Smith A, editor. PLoS One. Public Library of Science; 2019;14: e0212998. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0212998 30845258

Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 12
Nejčtenější tento týden