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The lopsided brain: Attention bias is shared by humans and birds

in concept to those that reveal pseudoneglect in humans--so-called cancellation tasks in which subjects are asked to "cancel-out" evenly distributed visual targets on a sheet of paper placed before them.

The finding that birds also exhibit spatial pseudoneglect is somewhat surprising, given that birds lack a corpus collosum, the structure in human brains that is thought to facilitate rapid communication between the two hemispheres. In the past, such communication via the corpus collosum has been thought to form the basis for asymmetries in human spatial attention, but the new observations suggest that this view warrants reconsideration.

It isn't clear why humans or birds should benefit from biased spatial attention, but past work has suggested that brain organization underlying attention asymmetries may offer benefits in spatial learning and in performing simultaneous spatial tasks, such as looking for food while being vigilant for predators.

The researchers include Bettina Diekamp and Onur Güntürkün of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany; Lucia Regolin of University of Padova, Italy; and Giorgio Vallortigara of the University of Trieste, Italy.

Bettina Diekamp, Lucia Regolin, Onur Güntürkün and Giorgio Vallortigara: "A left-sided visuospatial bias in birds." Current Biology, Vol. 15, R372–R373, May 24, 2005. http://www.current-biology.com


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Source:Cell Press


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