Right hemisphere sensitivity to word- and sentence-level context: evidence from event-related brain potentials.

Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition

PubMedID: 15641911

Coulson S, Federmeier KD, Van Petten C, Kutas M. Right hemisphere sensitivity to word- and sentence-level context: evidence from event-related brain potentials. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2005;31(1):129-47.
Researchers using lateralized stimuli have suggested that the left hemisphere is sensitive to sentence-level context, whereas the right hemisphere (RH) primarily processes word-level meaning. The authors investigated this message-blind RH model by measuring associative priming with event-related brain potentials (ERPs). For word pairs in isolation, associated words elicited more positive ERPs than unassociated words with similar magnitudes and onset latencies in both visual fields. Embedded in sentences, these same pairs showed large sentential context effects in both fields. Small effects of association were observed, confined to incongruous sentences after right visual hemifield presentation but present for both congruous and incongruous sentences after left visual hemifield presentation. Results do not support the message-blind RH model but do suggest hemispheric asymmetries in the use of word and sentence context during real-time processing.