Image preference biases on manual and oculomotor tasks in preliterate children
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Pseudoneglect is a leftward spatial bias that is observed in neurotypical people, or people with no known brain damage (Bowers & Heilman, 1980). Line bisection tasks are commonly used to investigate this phenomenon that involve participants marking where they perceive the midpoint to be on a horizontal line. Consistently, neurotypical participants will err to the left of centre on these tasks. Several factors contribute to the extent to which pseudoneglect is experienced including handedness, gender, age, and native reading direction (for a review, see Jewell & McCourt, 2000). Native reading direction been observed to be extremely influential in the direction and severity of spatial biases, with left-to-right reader erring to the left and right-to-left readers erring to right (Faghihi et al., 2019). The majority of studies examining pseudoneglect have included only adult participants or a mix of both child and adult participants. The present study examined this lateral spatial bias in children who have not yet learned to read. Twenty-nine four and five-year-old children completed a task in which they placed felt cut-out images onto felt boards, as well as a forced-choice mirrored image task. Each task was coded and scored for lateral preferences. Children displayed a strong leftward bias for figure placement (p = .007) on the felt board task and a non-significant rightward weighted image preference on the forced choice paradigm. The predicted leftward bias on the felt board task and the unpredicted pattern of directionality between the two tasks is discussed in terms of oculomotor and manual/motor mechanisms and right hemisphere activation.