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Hemispheric specialization for language according to grapho-phonemic transformation and gender. A divided visual field experiment

Laboratoire de Psychologie et Neurocognition, UMR CNRS 5105, Université Pierre Mendès-France, BP 47, 38040 Grenoble Cedex 09, France.
Brain and Cognition (Impact Factor: 2.68). 12/2008; 69(3):465-71. DOI: 10.1016/j.bandc.2008.10.001
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ABSTRACT This behavioral study aimed at assessing the effect of two variables on the degree of hemispheric specialization for language. One of them was the grapho-phonemic translation (transformation) (letter-sound mapping) and the other was the participants'gender. The experiment was conducted with healthy volunteers. A divided visual field procedure has been used to perform a phoneme detection task implying either regular (transparent) grapho-phonemic translation (letter-sound mapping consistency) or irregular (non-transparent) grapho-phonemic translation (letter-sound mapping inconsistency). Our results reveal a significant effect of grapho-phonemic translation on the degree of hemispheric dominance for language. The phoneme detection on items with transparent translation (TT) was performed faster than phoneme detection on items with non-transparent translation (NTT). This effect seems to be due to faster identification of TT than NTT when the items were presented in the left visual field (LVF)-right hemisphere (RH). There was no difference between TT and NTT for stimuli presented in the right visual field (RVF)-left hemisphere (LH). This result suggests that grapho-phonemic translation or the degree of transparency can affect the degree of hemispheric specialization, by modulating the right hemisphere activity. With respect to gender, male participants were significantly more lateralized than female participants but no interaction was observed between gender and degree of transparency.

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