Is it what you see, or how you say it? Spatial bias in young and aged subjects

Anna M. Barrett, Kessler Foundation
Catherine E. Craver-lemley, Elizabethtown College


Healthy subjects demonstrate leftward bias on visual-spatial tasks. However, young controls may also be left-biased when drawing communicatively, depicting the subject of a sentence leftward on a page relative to the sentence object, that is, a spatial-syntactic, implicit task. A leftward visual-spatial bias may decrease with aging, as right-hemisphere, dorsal, visual-spatial activation may be reduced in elderly subjects performing these tasks. We compared horizontal and radial (near-far) visual spatial bias, and spatial-syntactic bias, in healthy young and aged participants. Both horizontal and radial visual-spatial bias were smaller in aged participants when explicitly, but not implicitly assessed. Mean implicit far bias was greater in aged subjects, although this varied by task. We observed less implicit, spatial-syntactic left bias in aged than young participants. These results may be consistent with relatively less dominance of right hemisphere, dorsal spatial systems with aging. © 2008 Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2008.