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Lateralized spatial attention in attentive and inattentive school-aged boys
Cornish, K., MANLY, T., Dobler, V., Grant, C., & Hollis, C
Brain and Cognition, 56(1), 118-118.
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Unilateral neglect, a deficit in awareness for one side of space, is a relatively common consequence of stroke in adulthood. Chronic forms of the condition are associated with right hemisphere lesions and cooccurring impairments in alertness/sustained attention. There are some reports of spatial biases of developmental origin in children. To date, these have also occurred in the context of generalized attentional deficits and have affected left space. We tested this association in two groups of 6–11 year old boys from the normal school population, defined by teacher reports of good (63) or poor (58) attention. The teacher ratings were supported by formal assessments of sustained attention. Two tests of spatial attention were administered: a cancellation task requiring the boys to find visual targets distributed across a page and a task requiring the estimation of the centre-point of a horizontal line. Boys with poor attention performed more poorly on the cancellation test but showed no consistent pattern of lateralized spatial bias. In the line bisection test, most children showed the normal pattern of a modest deviation to the left. The opposite pattern, suggestive of an attentional bias away from left space, was significantly associated with the poor attention group. The results are consistent with adult neuropsychological literature suggesting a right hemisphere mediated link between poorly maintained alertness and reduced awareness of left space, even within the normal child population.