Revisiting the Landmark Task as a tool for studying hemispheric specialization: What's really right?

Anna Seydell-Greenwald, Serena F. Pu, Katrina Ferrara, Catherine E. Chambers, Elissa L. Newport, Barbara Landau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The “Landmark Task” (LT) is a line bisection judgment task that predominantly activates right parietal cortex. The typical version requires observers to judge bisections for horizontal lines that cross their egocentric midline and therefore may depend on spatial attention as well as spatial representation of the line segments. To ask whether the LT is indeed right-lateralized regardless of spatial attention (for which the right hemisphere is known to be important), we examined LT activation in 26 neurologically healthy young adults using vertical (instead of horizontal) stimuli, as compared with a luminance control task that made similar demands on spatial attention. We also varied task difficulty, which is known to affect lateralization in both spatial and language tasks. Despite these changes to the task, we observed right-lateralized parietal activations similar to those reported in other LT studies, both at group level and in individual lateralization indices. We conclude that LT activation is robustly right-lateralized, perhaps uniquely so among commonly-studied spatial tasks. We speculate that the unique properties of the LT reside in its requirement to judge relative magnitudes of the two line segments, rather than in the more general aspects of spatial attention or visual-spatial representation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Lateralization
  • Line bisection
  • Parietal lobe
  • Visual-spatial functions
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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