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Spatial distortions in localization and midline estimation in hemianopia and normal vision.


Studies have shown that individuals with hemianopia tend to bisect a line toward their blind, contralesional visual field, termed the hemianopic line bisection error (HLBE). One theory proposes that the HLBE is a perceptual distortion resulting from expansion of the central region of visual space. If true, perceptual expansions of the central regions in the intact hemifield should also be present and observable across different tasks. We tested this hypothesis using a peripheral localization task to assess localization and midpoint estimation along the horizontal axis of the visual field. In this task, participants judged the location of a target dot presented inside a Goldmann perimeter relative to their perceived visual field boundary. In Experiment 1, we tested neurologically healthy participants on the peripheral localization task as well as a novel midpoint assessment task in which participants reported their perceived midpoint along the horizontal axis of their left and right visual fields. The results revealed consistency in individual biases across the two tasks. We then used the peripheral localization task to test whether two patients with hemianopia showed a selective expansion of central visual space. For these patients, three axes were tested: the spared temporal horizontal axis and the upper and lower vertical axes. The results support the notion that the HLBE is due to expansion of perceived space along the spared temporal axis. Together, the results of both experiments validate the use of these novel paradigms for exploring perceptual asymmetries in both healthy individuals and patients with visual field loss.

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