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Brain Lang. 1987 Nov;32(2):265-77.

Comprehension of familiar phrases by left- but not by right-hemisphere damaged patients.

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Department of Neuropsychology, University of California, Los Angeles-Center for Health Sciences 90024.


Single words, familiar phrases (idioms and speech formulas), and novel sentences (matched to the familiar phrases in length, frequency, and structure) were selected for a picture-matching auditory comprehension task and administered to left- and right-brain damaged (LBD, RBD) subjects. The groups did not differ in single word comprehension. A 2 x 2 ANOVA revealed opposite patterns on the two other tasks, with LBD subjects performing worse on novel than familiar phrases, and RBD subject impaired on familiar phrase but not on novel sentence comprehension. The role of grammatical/referential vs. holistic/inferential meaning in left and right hemisphere function is discussed.

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