Things that go bump in the right : The effect of unimanual activity on rightward collisions

M.E.R. Nicholls, Andrea Loftus, K. Mayer, J.B. Mattingley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Patients with right parietal damage and spatial neglect ignore the leftward features of their environment - causing them to bump into the left-side of doorways. In contrast, the normal population shows a mild attentional bias towards the left. Self-report measures show more collisions to the right in everyday settings. We sought to obtain a quantitative measure of lateralised bumping in a laboratory setting. Participants (n = 276) walked through a narrow doorway and the experimenter recorded collisions. To investigate the association between bumping and paper-and-pencil tests of pseudoneglect, a line bisection task was administered. Unilateral activation of the hemispheres has been found to ameliorate the effects of spatial neglect. We investigated the effect of activation by asking participants to move their left-, right- or both-hands as they walked. In the both hands condition, which acted as a baseline, there were more right bumps than left bumps. The rightward bias was exasperated when the left hand moved, presumably because this movement activated the right hemisphere. In contrast, there were more left bumps when the right hand moved. The results demonstrate that bumping is not random and that we collide with the right side more often. Biases in bumping, however, were not related to biases in line bisection. The effect of hand-movement demonstrates that bumping is brought about by an imbalance of activation between the hemispheres. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1122-1126
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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