Recent studies suggest that stimuli with directional meaning can trigger lateral shifts of visuospatial attention when centrally presented as noninformative cues. We investigated covert orienting in healthy participants and in a group of 17 right brain-damaged patients (9 with hemispatial neglect) comparing arrows, eye gaze, and digits as central nonpredictive cues in a detection task. Orienting effects elicited by arrows and eye gaze were overall consistent in healthy participants and in right brain-damaged patients, whereas digit cues were ineffective. Moreover, patients with neglect showed, at the shortest delay between cue and target, a disengage deficit for arrow cueing whose magnitude was predicted by neglect severity. We conclude that the peculiar form of attentional orienting triggered by the directional meaning of arrow cues presents some features previously thought to characterize only the stimulus-driven (exogenous) orienting to noninformative peripheral cues.

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