The representation of discourse in the two hemispheres: An individual differences investigation

Chantel S. Prat, Debra L. Long, Kathleen Baynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two experiments were conducted to investigate discourse representation in the two cerebral hemispheres as a function of reading skill. We used a lateralized visual-field procedure to compare left hemisphere (LH) and right hemisphere (RH) sensitivity to different discourse relations in readers with varying skill levels. In Experiment 1, we investigated two levels of discourse representation in memory: (a) the propositional representation and (b) the discourse model. We found that all readers were sensitive to propositional relations in the LH. In contrast, sensitivity to propositional relations in the RH increased as a function of reading skill. In addition, reading skill was positively related to topic relations in the LH, whereas it was negatively in the RH. In Experiment 2, we investigated propositional relations of different distances and again found that all readers were sensitive to propositional relations in the LH, whereas sensitivity to propositional relations in the RH was negatively related to reading skill. In general, reading skill appears to be associated with left-lateralized discourse representations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-294
Number of pages12
JournalBrain and Language
Volume100
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2007

Keywords

  • Discourse processes
  • Discourse representation
  • Individual differences
  • Language
  • Laterality
  • Memory
  • Reading skill
  • Right hemisphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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