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A horizontal–vertical anisotropy in spatial short-term memory

Smith, Daniel T.

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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.


Smith, D. T. (2022). A horizontal–vertical anisotropy in spatial short-term memory. Visual Cognition, 30(4), 245-253.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 8, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 24, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Feb 24, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 24, 2022
Journal Visual Cognition
Print ISSN 1350-6285
Electronic ISSN 1464-0716
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Issue 4
Pages 245-253


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Copyright 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.

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