This paper examines the characteristics of spatial attention orienting in situations of visual impairment. Two groups of subjects, respectively schizophrenic and blind, with different degrees of visual spatial information impairment, were tested. In Experiment 1, the schizophrenic subjects were instructed to detect an auditory target, which was preceded by a visual cue. The cue could appear in the same location as the target, separated from it respectively by the vertical visual meridian (VM), the vertical head-centered meridian (HCM) or another meridian. Similarly to normal subjects tested with the same paradigm (Ferlazzo, Couyoumdjian, Padovani, and Olivetti Belardinelli, 2002), schizophrenic subjects showed slower reactions times (RTs) when cued, and when the target locations were on the opposite sides of the HCM. This HCM effect strengthens the assumption that different auditory and visual spatial maps underlie the representation of attention orienting mechanisms. In Experiment 2, blind subjects were asked to detect an auditory target, which had been preceded by an auditory cue, while staring at an imaginary point. The point was located either to the left or to the right, in order to control for ocular movements and maintain the dissociation between the HCM and the VM. Differences between crossing and no-crossing conditions of HCM were not found. Therefore it is possible to consider the HCM effect as a consequence of the interaction between visual and auditory modalities. Related theoretical issues are also discussed.
- Auditory attention orienting
- Head-centered meridian effect
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Professions(all)