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Brain Cogn. 2007 Jun;64(1):60-7. Epub 2007 Jan 25.

The effects of bilateral presentations on lateralized lexical decision.

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Department of Psychology, A407 Franz Hall, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563, USA.


We investigated how lateralized lexical decision is affected by the presence of distractors in the visual hemifield contralateral to the target. The study had three goals: first, to determine how the presence of a distractor (either a word or a pseudoword) affects visual field differences in the processing of the target; second, to identify the stage of the process in which the distractor is affecting the decision about the target; and third, to determine whether the interaction between the lexicality of the target and the lexicality of the distractor ("lexical redundancy effect") is due to facilitation or inhibition of lexical processing. Unilateral and bilateral trials were presented in separate blocks. Target stimuli were always underlined. Regarding our first goal, we found that bilateral presentations (a) increased the effect of visual hemifield of presentation (right visual field advantage) for words by slowing down the processing of word targets presented to the left visual field, and (b) produced an interaction between visual hemifield of presentation (VF) and target lexicality (TLex), which implies the use of different strategies by the two hemispheres in lexical processing. For our second goal of determining the processing stage that is affected by the distractor, we introduced a third condition in which targets were always accompanied by "perceptual" distractors consisting of sequences of the letter "x" (e.g., xxxx). Performance on these trials indicated that most of the interaction occurs during lexical access (after basic perceptual analysis but before response programming). Finally, a comparison between performance patterns on the trials containing perceptual and lexical distractors indicated that the lexical redundancy effect is mainly due to inhibition of word processing by pseudoword distractors.

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