Right hemisphere superiority in processing new symbols for arithmetic operators

Oren Lamm, Harold W. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A left ear advantage for solving dichotically-presented arithmetic problems was observed in subjects when nonsense words were substituted for familiar operator names ("plus", "minus", etc.). The expected right ear advantage was observed when the same problems were solved by the same subjects when the familiar operator names were presented. Since neither the task nor the nonsense words could produce the left ear advantage by themselves, it is hypothesized that introduction of the nonsense symbols created a novel situation which recruited greater functional participation by the right cerebral hemisphere. Accommodating to new symbols for previously assimilated concepts is a common demand in the learning process of formal systems. Thus, the functions of the left and right hemispheres appear to take interactive roles during learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-45
Number of pages17
JournalActa Psychologica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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