Semantic category and rhyming processing in the left and right cerebral hemisphere

Asaid Khateb, Alan J. Pegna, Christoph M. Michel, Marie Carmen Custodi, Theodor Landis, Jean Marie Annoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, the question of hemispheric abilities in processing explicit semantic and phonological information was addressed by measuring response latencies and performances in two judgement tasks. In the semantic task, word pairs were sequentially presented to the left or right visual field and subjects were asked to judge whether these words were categorically related or not. In the phonological task, the same subjects were asked to decide whether pairs of orthographically dissimilar words rhymed or not. Statistical analysis showed that reaction times (RT) were significantly shorter in both tasks when words were presented to the right visual field. Furthermore, in the semantic task, faster responses were observed in both visual fields when the words were related than when they were unrelated. This response facilitation tended to be stronger when words were presented to the left visual field. This result is in accordance with other results obtained by lexical decision studies showing that priming in the right hemisphere is due to controlled processing. By contrast, RT differences between rhyming and non-rhyming word pairs in the phonological task did not reach significance. This supports previous findings showing that phonological facilitation cannot occur when orthographic and phonological indices are in conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-53
Number of pages19
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Requests for reprints should be sent to Jean-Marie Annoni, Neurology Clinic, Geneva University Hospital, 24 Rue Micheli-du-Crest, CH-1211 Geneva 14, Switzerland. Email: This research was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation grants nos 31±42571-94 and 31-52923-97 to J.M. Annoni. The authors are grateful to the two referees for their helpful comments on a previous version of this manuscript.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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