Hemispheric sensitivities to lexical and contextual information: Evidence from lexical ambiguity resolution

Orna Peleg, Zohar Eviatar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The present study examined the manner in which both hemispheres utilize prior semantic context and relative meaning frequency during the processing of homographs. Participants read sentences biased toward the dominant or the subordinate meaning of their final homograph, or unbiased neutral sentences, and performed a lexical decision task on lateralized targets presented 250 ms after the onset of the sentence-final ambiguous prime. Targets were either related to the dominant or the subordinate meaning of the preceding homograph, or unrelated to it. Performance asymmetry was found in the absence of a biasing context: dominant-related targets were exclusively facilitated in the RVF/LH, whereas both dominant- and subordinate-related targets were facilitated in the LVF/RH. Performance symmetry was found in the presence of a biasing context: dominant-related targets were exclusively activated in dominant-biasing contexts, whereas both dominant- and subordinate-related targets were facilitated in subordinate-biasing contexts. The implications of the results for both general and hemispheric models of word processing are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-82
Number of pages12
JournalBrain and Language
Volume105
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Grant No. 956/06 granted by the Israel Science Foundation to Orna Peleg and Zohar Eviatar.

Keywords

  • Cerebral hemispheres
  • Lexical ambiguity
  • Priming
  • Sentence context
  • Visual field
  • Word frequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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