Aphasic patients exhibit a reversal of hemispheric asymmetries in categorical color discrimination

Yulia Paluy, Aubrey L. Gilbert, Juliana V. Baldo, Nina Dronkers, Richard B. Ivry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Patients with left hemisphere (LH) or right hemisphere (RH) brain injury due to stroke were tested on a speeded, color discrimination task in which two factors were manipulated: (1) the categorical relationship between the target and the distracters and (2) the visual field in which the target was presented. Similar to controls, the RH patients were faster in detecting targets in the right visual field when the target and distracters had different color names compared to when their names were the same. This effect was absent in the LH patients, consistent with the hypothesis that injury to the left hemisphere handicaps the automatic activation of lexical codes. Moreover, the LH patients showed a reversed effect, such that the advantage of different target-distracter names was now evident for targets in the left visual field. This reversal may suggest a reorganization of the color lexicon in the right hemisphere following left hemisphere brain injury and/or the unmasking of a heightened right hemisphere sensitivity to color categories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-156
Number of pages6
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Aphasia
  • Categorical perception
  • Color
  • Hemispheric laterality
  • Linguistic relativity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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