Divergence of categorical and coordinate spatial processing assessed with ERPs

Robert Henricus Johannes van der Lubbe, Marieke L. Scholvinck, J. Leon Kenemans, Albert Postma

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    22 Citations (Scopus)


    The spatial relation between two objects may be described either precisely or more coarsely in abstract terms, denoted as coordinate and categorical descriptions, respectively. These descriptions may reflect the outcomes of two spatial coding processes, which are realized in the left- and right-hemisphere. Support for this account comes from visual field effects in categorical and coordinate judgment tasks and from patient studies. In the current study, this hypothesis was tested by using event-related potentials (ERPs) and source localization. ERPs yield information about the processing stage at which the hypothesized categorical and coordinate processing diverge due to different task demands, especially in our S1–S2 version of the Bar Dot task. A centrally presented Bar Dot (S1) was followed after 2.5 s by a second one (S2) in the left or right visual field; participants had to judge whether S2 matched S1 at the categorical, or, in a second task, at the coordinate level. Behavioral measures revealed a left-field advantage in the coordinate task that was absent in the categorical task. S1s elicited stronger early and late bilateral posterior responses in the coordinate than in the categorical task, possibly related to a compensatory strategy at the level of encoding and spatial memory. S2s elicited only stronger early contralateral responses, and stronger late right-hemisphere responses in the categorical task. It is proposed that the left-field advantage in the coordinate task may be due to differences in spatial resolution in perceptual encoding of the left- and right-hemispheres that are largely unaffected by the task at hand.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1547-1559
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • ERPs
    • Spatial processing
    • Dipole sources
    • Visual half field
    • Categorical
    • IR-58741
    • Coordinate


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