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Brain Lang. 2003 Nov;87(2):217-26.

Processing of metaphoric and non-metaphoric alternative meanings of words after right- and left-hemispheric lesion.

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Département de Psychologie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada.


This study examines the specificity of the contribution of the right hemisphere to the processing of metaphoric meaning of words. Ten right- and 10 left-hemisphere-damaged subjects, and 20 normal control subjects were submitted to: (1) a word-triad task where they had to associate alternative metaphoric and non-metaphoric words to a target word, and to (2) a word-dyad task where they had to decide whether or not there was a semantic relationship between two words. The two tasks aimed at differentiating between the subjects' preference for a given semantic meaning versus a genuine semantic deficit for a particular meaning. Results revealed that both right- and left-hemisphere-damaged groups presented a genuine semantic deficit for the processing of metaphoric meaning. The absence of a double dissociation between the two brain-damaged groups does not support the hypothesis of a specific contribution of the right-hemisphere to the processing of metaphoric meaning of words.

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