Observers exhibit larger leftward bias when bisecting words compared with lines. According to the Attentional Scaling Hypothesis, attempting to access lexical entries involves focusing attention on the initial letters of words to establish a cohort of potential matches with entries in the mental lexicon. We test this account by examining two predictions: (1) greater leftward bias for words should be evident in English readers in which the word beginning is on the left but not in Hebrew readers. (2) Dyslexics who have lexical impairments should show greater bias. Results reveal that word length modulated bisection bias differently for Hebrew and English readers, although the bias stays always leftward. Furthermore, dyslexics exhibited an exaggerated leftward bias than controls. We propose this effect arises from an interaction between reading and spatial attention rather than from the scaling of attention relative to the beginning of the word in the service of lexical access.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalBrain and Language
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2015


  • Bisection
  • Hemi-spatial attention
  • Lexical processing
  • Reading direction
  • Word representation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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