The processing of sine-wave gratings presented to the left and right visual fields was examined in four experiments. Subjects were required either to detect the presence of a grating (Experiments 1 and 2) or to identify the spatial frequency of a grating (Experiments 3 and 4). Orthogonally to this, the stimuli were presented either at threshold levels of contrast (Experiments 1 and 3) or at suprathreshold levels (Experiments 2 and 4). Visual field and spatial frequency interacted when the task required identification of spatial frequency, but not when it required only stimulus detection. Regardless of contrast level (threshold, suprathreshold), high-frequency gratings were identified more readily in the right visual field (left hemisphere), whereas low-frequency gratings showed no visual field difference (Experiment 3) or were identified more readily in the left visual field (right hemisphere) (Experiment 4). Thus, hemispheric asymmetries in the processing of spatial frequencies depend on the task. These results support Sergent's (1982) spatial frequency hypothesis, but only when the computational demands of the task exceed those required for the simple detection of the stimuli.
Kitterle, Frederick & Christman, Stephen & Hellige, Joseph. (1990). Hemispheric differences are found in the identification, but not the detection, of low versus high spatial frequencies. Perception & Psychophysics. 48. 297-306.