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A horizontal–vertical anisotropy in spatial short-term memory

Smith, Daniel T. (2022) 'A horizontal–vertical anisotropy in spatial short-term memory.', Visual Cognition, 30 (4). pp. 245-253.


Visual perception and saccadic eye-movements are more precise when directed at isoeccentric locations along the horizontal compared to vertical meridian. This effect is known as horizontal-vertical anisotropy (HVA). Given that the eye-movement system plays an important role in spatial short-term memory (STM) it was hypothesized that spatial STM would also show a horizontal-vertical anisotropy. Consistent with this hypothesis an online experiment revealed a significant HVA in spatial STM (Experiment 1). This effect persisted even when eye-movements were precluded by using very short display durations (Experiment 2). However, there was no HVA in a colour span or orientation change detection task. It is argued that the HVA in spatial STM may result from greater imprecision in the representation of spatial locations along the vertical meridian relative to the horizontal meridian in the spatial maps underpinning spatial STM, a bilateral field advantage, or some combination of these mechanisms.

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Publisher statement:© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Date accepted:08 February 2022
Date deposited:24 February 2022
Date of first online publication:24 February 2022
Date first made open access:24 February 2022

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