You may now kiss the bride: Interpretation of social situations by individuals with right or left hemisphere injury

Juliana V. Baldo, Natalie A. Kacinik, Amber Moncrief, Francesca Beghin, Nina Dronkers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


While left hemisphere damage (LHD) has been clearly shown to cause a range of language impairments, patients with right hemisphere damage (RHD) also exhibit communication deficits, such as difficulties processing prosody, discourse, and social contexts. In the current study, individuals with RHD and LHD were directly compared on their ability to interpret what a character in a cartoon might be saying or thinking, in order to better understand the relative role of the right and left hemisphere in social communication. The cartoon stimuli were manipulated so as to elicit more or less formulaic responses (e.g., a scene of a couple being married by a priest vs. a scene of two people talking, respectively). Participants' responses were scored by blind raters on how appropriately they captured the gist of the social situation, as well as how formulaic and typical their responses were. Results showed that RHD individuals' responses were rated as significantly less appropriate than controls and were also significantly less typical than controls and individuals with LHD. Individuals with RHD produced a numerically lower proportion of formulaic expressions than controls, but this difference was only a trend. Counter to prediction, the pattern of performance across participant groups was not affected by how constrained/formulaic the social situation was. The current findings expand our understanding of the roles that the right and left hemispheres play in social processing and communication and have implications for the potential treatment of social communication deficits in individuals with RHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Jan 8 2016


  • Brain lesions
  • Context
  • Empathy
  • Language
  • Lateralization
  • Left hemisphere
  • Pragmatics
  • Right hemisphere
  • Social processing
  • Theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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