Abstract Two versions of a line bisection task were given to patients with posterior right-hemisphere damage and normal control subjects. One, which we refer to as the directed-manual task, was the traditional bisection task in which lines were transected with a pen held in the right hand. In the other task, referred to as the directed-visual task, subjects observed the experimenter move a pen along a line from right-to-left (the left-scan task) or from left-to-right (the right-scan task) and they verbally indicated the subjective midpoint. Patients showed significant left neglect in the manual and the left-scan tasks only. Controls showed no consistent biases and no influence of scanning direction. Right and left cues biased bisection for both groups. The results indicate that when the directed manual response is eliminated, scan direction determined the presence or absence of neglect on bisection. The findings are discussed in terms of the efficiency of visual orienting.