Right Hemisphere Language Comprehension

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The statement, “The Right Hemisphere (RH) processes language”–while not exactly revolutionary–still provokes vigorous debate. It often elicits the argument that anything the RH does with language is not linguistic but “paralinguistic.” The resistance to the notion of RH language processing persists despite the fact that even the earliest observers of Left Hemisphere (LH) language specialization posited some role for the RH in language processing, and evidence attesting to various RH language processes has steadily accrued for more than 30 years. In this volume, chapters pertain to a wide, but by no means, exhaustive set of language comprehension processes for which RH contributions have been demonstrated. The sections are organized around these processes, beginning with initial decoding of written or spoken input, proceeding through semantic processing of single words and sentences, up to comprehension of more complex discourse, as well as problem solving. The chapters assembled here should begin to melt this resistance to evidence of RH language processing. This volume’s main goal is to compile evidence about RH language function from a scattered literature. The editorial commentaries concluding each section highlight the relevance of these phenomena for psycholinguistic and neuropsychological theory, and discuss similarities and apparent discrepancies in the findings reported in individual chapters. In the final chapter, common themes that emerge from the enterprise of studying RH language and future challenge for the field are reviewed. Although all chapters focus only on “typical” laterality of right handed people, this work provides a representative sample of the current state of the art in RH language research. Important features include: * a wide range of coverage from speech perception and reading through complex discourse comprehension and problem-solving; * research presented from both empirical and theoretical perspectives; and * commentaries and conclusions integrating findings and theories across sub-domains, and speculating on future directions of the field.

Table of contents

Half Title
Title Page
Part I: Decoding Speech Sounds and Individual Words
1 The Neurology of Consonant Perception: Specialized Module or Distributed Processors?
2 The Corpus Callosum and Language: Anatomical-Behavioral Relationships
3 Integration of Processing Between the Hemispheres in Word Recognition
4 The Visual Lexicon: Its Access and Organization in Commissurotomy Patients
5 Reading and the Right Hemisphere: Evidence From Acquired Dyslexia
Commentary: Right Hemisphere Linguistic Decoding — More Than Meets the Eye and Ear?
Part II: Lexical and Sentence-Level Semantics
6 On Codes of Meaning and the Meaning of Codes: Semantic Access and Retrieval Within and Between Hemispheres
7 Obtaining Evidence of Language Comprehension From Sentence Priming
8 Potential Asymmetries in Language Comprehension: In Search of the Electrical Right.
9 Modeling Cerebral Asymmetries in High-Dimensional Space
Commentary: Getting the Right Meaning From Words and Sentences
Part III: Discourse Processing and Problem Solving
10 Coarse Semantic Coding and Discourse Comprehension
11 Verbal Aspects of Emotional Communication
12 Deficits in Inference and Social Cognition: The Effects of Right Hemisphere Brain Damage on Discourse
13 The Interpretation of Narrative Discourse of Brain-Damaged Individuals Within the Framework of a Multilevel Discourse Model
14 Right Hemisphere Contributions to Creative Problem Solving: Converging Evidence for Divergent Thinking
Commentary: Getting the Right Meaning From Discourse
15 Concluding Remarks: Getting the Whole Story Right Mark Beeman and Christine Chiarello
Author Index
Subject Index

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