This study explores the effects of language status on hemispheric involvement in lexical decision. The authors looked at the responses of native Arabic speakers in Arabic (L1 for reading) and in two second languages (L2): Hebrew, which is similar to L1 in morphological structure, and English, which is very different from L1. Two groups of Arabic speakers performed lateralized lexical decision tasks in the three languages, using unilateral presentations and bilateral presentations. These paradigms allowed us to infer both hemispheric specialization and interhemispheric communication in the three languages, and the effects of language status (native vs. nonnative) and similarity on hemispheric patterns of responses. In general the authors show an effect of language status in the right visual field (RVF), reflecting the greater facility of the left hemisphere (LH) in recognizing words in the participant's native Arabic than in their other languages. The participants revealed similar patterns of interhemispheric integration across the languages, with more integration occurring for words than for nonwords. Both hemispheres revealed sensitivity to morphological complexity, a pattern similar to that of native Hebrew readers and different from that of native English readers.
- Arabic speakers
- lexical decision
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology