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Interhemispheric communication is via direct connections

Collins, M.A. and Coney, J.R. (1998) Interhemispheric communication is via direct connections. Brain and Language, 64 (1). pp. 28-52.

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Two priming experiments, using normal university students as subjects, independently projected low imagery primes and concrete target words to the left or right visual fields (LVF or RVF) to examine the merits of three spreading activation models of interhemispheric communication: (i) callosal relay of a semantically encoded prime; (ii) transfer of products activated as a result of the spread of activation; and (iii) direct connections between the hemispheres. The first experiment temporally separated pairs by a stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) of 250 ms and obtained strong support for the direct connections model. Priming effects were obtained only when the prime was projected to the RVF and the target to the LVF. The pattern of priming effects suggested that low imagery words projected to the left hemisphere can activate concrete associates in the right hemisphere via direct callosal connections between the two. In the second experiment, the SOA was increased to 450 ms. This time, RVF–RVF priming was obtained along with RVF–LVF priming. The findings are interpreted within a modification of Bleasdale's (1987) framework, where abstract/low imagery words and concrete/high imagery words are represented in separate subsystems in the left hemisphere lexicon. Support was also found for the view that the left hemisphere is comprised of a complex network of abstract and concrete words, while the right hemisphere operates as a subsidiary word processor, subserving linguistic processing with a limited, special purpose lexicon comprised of associative connections between concrete, imageable words (e.g., Zaidel, 1983a; Bradshaw, 1980). Interhemispheric communication in the priming procedure appears to occur at the semantic level, via direct connections between the hemispheres.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: Elsevier
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