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Med Sci (Paris). 2008 Jan;24(1):72-6. doi: 10.1051/medsci/200824172.

[Semantic processing and right hemisphere].

[Article in French]

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Centre de recherche, Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, 4565 chemin Queen-Mary, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


Although language is a function traditionally attributed to the left hemisphere, experimental and clinical reports indicate that the right hemisphere may also have a capacity to process verbal information. Indeed, some attributes of words, including their concreteness, imageability and emotional component, have been shown to be associated with right-hemispheric processing capacities. In addition, studies on brain-damaged, split-brain patients and studies realized with neuroimaging techniques have also suggested that the right hemisphere has some linguistic capacities. The main objective of this article is to review specific contribution of right cerebral hemisphere to semantic processing from three complementary approaches: (1) divided visual-field experiments with healthy participants, (2) studies of patients with acquired lesions of both left and right hemispheres, and (3) neuroimaging studies.

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