A bias to allocate attention to the left hemispace, similar to the well-known pseudoneglect phenomenon shown by humans, has been recently reported in domestic chicks and other species of birds. Asymmetrical light exposure of the embryo of the domestic chick in a critical period before hatching is known to be responsible for a structural asymmetry in the visual ascending projections of the thalamofugal pathway and for lateralization of some visual behaviors. Thus the animal model provided by the chick makes possible investigation of the prenatal factors that may influence asymmetry in spatial attention. Here chicks coming from eggs exposed to light (light incubated, Li-chicks) and chicks incubated in darkness (dark incubated, Di-chicks) were tested in a task in which they were required to explore an area in front of them and to sample grains of food. The results showed that Li-chicks attended more to target stimuli located in the left hemispace, whereas no asymmetry was shown by Di-chicks. When grains of food were presented with small novel pebbles as distractors, both Li- and Di-chicks tended to allocate attention toward the left hemispace. When, however, chicks were tested after familiarization with pebbles, no bias was shown by either Li- and Di-chicks. Hence it seems that cerebral lateralization associated with right hemispheric involvement in response to novelty, interacts with the modulatory effect of asymmetric embryonic light stimulation on preferential allocation of spatial attention in the left hemispace (right hemisphere) and right eye (left hemisphere) control of visual discrimination during feeding.

Pseudoneglect and embryonic light stimulation in the avian brain.

CHIANDETTI, CINZIA
2011

Abstract

A bias to allocate attention to the left hemispace, similar to the well-known pseudoneglect phenomenon shown by humans, has been recently reported in domestic chicks and other species of birds. Asymmetrical light exposure of the embryo of the domestic chick in a critical period before hatching is known to be responsible for a structural asymmetry in the visual ascending projections of the thalamofugal pathway and for lateralization of some visual behaviors. Thus the animal model provided by the chick makes possible investigation of the prenatal factors that may influence asymmetry in spatial attention. Here chicks coming from eggs exposed to light (light incubated, Li-chicks) and chicks incubated in darkness (dark incubated, Di-chicks) were tested in a task in which they were required to explore an area in front of them and to sample grains of food. The results showed that Li-chicks attended more to target stimuli located in the left hemispace, whereas no asymmetry was shown by Di-chicks. When grains of food were presented with small novel pebbles as distractors, both Li- and Di-chicks tended to allocate attention toward the left hemispace. When, however, chicks were tested after familiarization with pebbles, no bias was shown by either Li- and Di-chicks. Hence it seems that cerebral lateralization associated with right hemispheric involvement in response to novelty, interacts with the modulatory effect of asymmetric embryonic light stimulation on preferential allocation of spatial attention in the left hemispace (right hemisphere) and right eye (left hemisphere) control of visual discrimination during feeding.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2781134
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