Abstract

This study investigates whether interhemispheric interactions mediated by the corpus callosum play a role in orienting attention across the vertical meridian. Patients with complete or partial section of the corpus callosum participated in a spatial precueing task under conditions that required covert shifts of attention within or between the visual fields. Patients with complete callosal section demonstrated normal costs on invalid trials when the cue and target appeared in the same visual field. However, these patients were impaired on invalid trials in which attention had to be redirected across the vertical meridian. The between–within difference emerged only for patients with complete callosal section; it was not evident for a patient with section restricted to the anterior two-thirds of the callosum. Control experiments demonstrated that the deficit (1) is specific to shifts across the vertical meridian, (2) is not due to shifting between left and right hemispace, and (3) is related to the voluntary allocation of attention in response to the cue. These results suggest that interhemispheric communication, which is normally mediated by the posterior region of the corpus callosum, contributes to the efficient movement of attention between visual fields.

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