Attentional bias as trait: Correlations with novelty seeking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pseudoneglect is traditionally viewed as reflecting right hemisphere specialization for processing spatial information, which brings about relatively greater activation of the right hemisphere and orienting towards the contralateral space. Such interpretation implies that the leftward attentional bias is a population trait. Animal studies, however, suggest that orienting bias is a trait of the individual and individual differences in the direction and magnitude of this orienting bias reflect individual differences in asymmetry in dopaminergic brain systems, which are also reflected in other behavioral differences. The present study was designed to test the hypothesis that healthy individuals show consistent attentional bias, the direction and magnitude of which varies among individuals and is associated with the degree of novelty seeking, a temperament trait associated with dopamine asymmetry. Forty-nine right-handed participants performed the greyscales task on two separate occasions and completed the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire. Although on average some degree of leftward attentional bias was observed on both occasions, both the direction and the magnitude of the bias differed greatly, with some individuals showing a strong leftward bias whereas others showed a strong rightward bias. A highly significant correlation was found between degree and magnitude of this bias on the two testing sessions, supporting the hypothesis that it may reflect an individual trait. As predicted, higher scores on novelty seeking were associated with rightward attentional bias, suggesting that this bias may reflect asymmetries in dopaminergic circuits in healthy individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2064-2070
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 596/06). I thank R. Ebstein for providing the Hebrew version of the TPQ and Irena Buchman, Tamar Shlapobersky and Lior Inbar for assistance with the data collection.


  • Approach behavior
  • Asymmetry
  • Dopamine
  • Individual differences
  • Pseudoneglect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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