Hemispheric asymmetries in the perceptual representations of words

Amy E. Lincoln, Debra L. Long, Diane Swick, Jary Larsen, Kathleen Baynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The representation of words in sentences can involve the activation and integration of perceptual information. For example, readers who are asked to view pictures of objects relating to a word in a sentence are influenced by perceptual information in the sentence context-readers are faster to respond to a picture of a whole apple after reading, "There is an apple in the bag," than after reading, "There is an apple in the salad." The purpose of this study was to examine how the two cerebral hemispheres use perceptual information about words as a function of sentence context. Patients who had damage to the left or right hemisphere and age-matched control participants read sentences that described, but did not entail, the shape or state of an object. They then made recognition judgments to pictures that either matched or mismatched the perceptual form implied by the sentence. Responses and latencies were examined for a match effect - faster and more accurate responses to pictures in the match than mismatch condition - controlling for comprehension ability and lesion size. When comprehension ability and lesion size are properly controlled, left-hemisphere-damaged patients and control participants exhibited the expected match effect, whereas right-hemisphere-damaged participants showed no effect of match condition. These results are consistent with research implicating the right hemisphere in the representation of contextually relevant perceptual information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-121
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 10 2008


  • Hemispheric difference
  • Language comprehension
  • Laterality
  • Left-hemisphere damage
  • Perceptual symbol
  • Right-hemisphere damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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