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Hemispheric asymmetries in categorical perception of orientation in infants and adults

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 18:46 authored by Anna FranklinAnna Franklin, Di Catherwood, James Alvarez, Emma Axelsson
Orientation CP is the faster or more accurate discrimination of two orientations from different categories (e.g., oblique1 and vertical1) compared to two orientations from the same category (e.g., oblique1 and oblique2), even when the degree of difference is equated across conditions. Here, we assess whether there are hemispheric asymmetries in this effect for adults and 5-month-old infants. Experiment 1 identified the location of the vertical–oblique category boundary. Experiment 2, using a visual search task with oriented lines found that adult search was more accurate when the target and distractors were from different orientation categories, compared to targets and distractors of an equivalent physical difference taken from the same category. This effect was stronger for targets lateralized to the left visual field (LVF) than the right visual field (RVF), indicating a right hemisphere (RH) bias in adult orientation CP. Experiment 3, replicated the RH bias using different stimuli and also investigated the impact of visual and verbal interference on the category effect. Experiment 4, using the same visual search task, found that infant search was also faster when the target and distractors were from different orientation categories than the same, yet this category effect was stronger for RVF than LVF lateralized targets, indicating a LH bias in orientation CP at 5 months. These findings are contrasted to equivalent studies on the lateralization of color CP (e.g., Gilbert, Regier, Kay, & Ivry, 2005). The implications for theories on the contribution of the left and right hemispheres of the infant and adult brain to categorical computations are discussed.


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