Pseudoneglect is maintained in aging but not in mild Alzheimer's disease: new insights from an enumeration task

Debora Brignani, Chiara Bagattini, Veronica Mazza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neurologically healthy young adults display a behavioral bias, called pseudoneglect, which favors the processing of stimuli appearing in the left visual field. Pseudoneglect arises from the right hemisphere dominance for visuospatial attention. Previous studies investigating the effects of normal aging on pseudoneglect in line bisection and greyscale tasks have produced divergent results. In addition, scarce systematic investigations of visual biases in dementia have been reported. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether the leftward bias appearing during an enumeration task in young adults would be preserved in normal aging and at different stages of severity of Alzheimer's disease. In Experiment 1, young and older healthy adults showed a comparable pseudoneglect, performing better when targets appeared in the left visual field. In Experiment 2, the leftward bias was maintained in amnesic mild cognitive impairment patients (aMCI), but it vanished in mild Alzheimer's disease patients (AD). The maintenance of pseudoneglect in normal aging and in aMCI patients is consistent with compensatory phenomena involving the right fronto-parietal network, which allow maintaining the right hemisphere dominance. Conversely, the lack of pseudoneglect in the sample of AD patients likely results from a loss of the right hemisphere dominance, caused by the selective degeneration of the right fronto-parietal network. These results highlight the need of further systematic investigations of visuospatial biases along the continuum of normal and pathological aging, both for a better understanding of the changes characterizing cognitive aging and for improvements in the evaluation of neglect in Alzheimer's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-283
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Aging
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Enumeration
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Pseudoneglect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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