Cerebral hemodynamics during scene viewing: Hemispheric lateralization predicts temporal gaze behavior associated with distinct modes of visual processing

Mark Mills, Mohammed Alwatban, Benjamin Hage, Erin Barney, Edward J. Truemper, Gregory R. Bashford, Michael D. Dodd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Systematic patterns of eye movements during scene perception suggest a functional distinction between 2 viewing modes: an ambient mode (characterized by short fixations and large saccades) thought to reflect dorsal activity involved with spatial analysis, and a focal mode (characterized by long fixations and small saccades) thought to reflect ventral activity involved with object analysis. Little neuroscientific evidence exists supporting this claim. Here, functional transcranial Doppler ultrasound (fTCD) was used to investigate whether these modes show hemispheric specialization. Participants viewed scenes for 20s under instructions to search or memorize. Overall, early viewing was right lateralized, whereas later viewing was left lateralized. This right-to-left shift interacted with viewing task (more pronounced in the memory task). Importantly, changes in lateralization correlated with changes in eye movements. This is the first demonstration of right hemisphere bias for eye movements servicing spatial analysis and left hemisphere bias for eye movements servicing object analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1291-1302
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017



  • Eye movements
  • Fixation duration
  • Functional hemispheric asymmetry
  • Functional transcranial doppler
  • Saccade amplitude

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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