Prism adaptation does not alter object-based attention in healthy participants

Janet H Bultitude, Alexandra List, Anne M Aimola Davies

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11 Citations (SciVal)


Hemispatial neglect ('neglect') is a disabling condition that can follow damage to the right side of the brain, in which patients show difficulty in responding to or orienting towards objects and events that occur on the left side of space. Symptoms of neglect can manifest in both space- and object-based frames of reference. Although patients can show a combination of these two forms of neglect, they are considered separable and have distinct neurological bases. In recent years considerable evidence has emerged to demonstrate that spatial symptoms of neglect can be reduced by an intervention called prism adaptation. Patients point towards objects viewed through prismatic lenses that shift the visual image to the right. Approximately five minutes of repeated pointing results in a leftward recalibration of pointing and improved performance on standard clinical tests for neglect. The understanding of prism adaptation has also been advanced through studies of healthy participants, in whom adaptation to leftward prismatic shifts results in temporary neglect-like performance. Here we examined the effect of prism adaptation on the performance of healthy participants who completed a computerised test of space- and object-based attention. Participants underwent adaptation to leftward- or rightward-shifting prisms, or performed neutral pointing according to a between-groups design. Significant pointing after-effects were found for both prism groups, indicating successful adaptation. In addition, the results of the computerised test revealed larger reaction-time costs associated with shifts of attention between two objects compared to shifts of attention within the same object, replicating previous work. However there were no differences in the performance of the three groups, indicating that prism adaptation did not influence space- or object-based attention for this task. When combined with existing literature, the results are consistent with the proposal that prism adaptation may only perturb cognitive functions for which normal baseline performance is already biased.
Original languageEnglish
Article number232
JournalF1000 Research
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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