The role of saccade preparation in lateralized word recognition: evidence for the attentional bias theory.
The identification of parafoveal words is better in the right visual field (RVF) than in the left visual field (LVF) . In experiments using the identification of parafoveal words, attention is not necessarily distributed symmetrically in the state of expectancy prior to the presentation of each stimulus. The RVF superiority may be, at least partially, explained by an attentional bias in favour of the RVF , because of the activation of the left hemisphere when subjects are engaged in a linguistic task and because of the reading direction. Although several studies argue in favor of an early development of the RVF superiority for words in children , little is known on the development of this attentional bias. The goal of our study was to investigate the attentional bias in reading parafoveal words in school-age children and adults, using an identification task. Words were presented alone or with a distractor in the opposite visual field. The distractor was simultaneous with the word or was presented immediately before the word. Asimultaneous distractor may compete with the word for the allocation of attention [6,7]. A distractor appearing before the word may capture attention . According to the attentional bias hypothesis we predicted a larger effect of the simultaneous distractor in the LVF,