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Brain Cogn. 1993 Jul;22(2):199-212.

On spatial frequencies and cerebral hemispheres: some remarks from the electrophysiological and neuropsychological points of view.


The spatial frequency hypothesis on hemispheric specialization gave rise to contradictory experimental results, commented on in Brain and Cognition by Christman (1989) and Peterzell (1991). The question is discussed through a review of the electrophysiological and neuropsychological research on hemispheric asymmetry of spatial frequency processing. The general hypothesis of the hemispheric specialization for this basic visual information appears to be supported by recent works on evoked potentials by gratings and checkerboards. However, an interaction between the cerebral hemisphere, spatial frequency, and temporal frequency was found more than a sharp dichotomy between low (right hemisphere) and high spatial frequencies (left hemisphere), as indeed it was proposed by the spatial frequency hypothesis. Other relevant physical parameters in generating the hemispheric asymmetry were found to be the contrast and the visual field size. The neuropsychological research on brain-injured patients has given some further evidence of the hemispheric asymmetry in spatial frequency processing. In conclusion, it is argued that the major merit of the spatial frequency hypothesis was in the attempt to investigate the hemispheric specialization of lower and higher levels of visual information processing from the perspective of a unified computational conception of visual perception.

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