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, 30 (9), 827-44

Right Hemisphere Specialization for the Identification of Emotional Words and Sentences: Evidence From Stroke Patients

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Right Hemisphere Specialization for the Identification of Emotional Words and Sentences: Evidence From Stroke Patients

J C Borod et al. Neuropsychologia.

Abstract

This study examines the contribution of the lexical/verbal channel to emotional processing in 16 right brain-damaged (RBD), 16 left brain-damaged (LBD) and 16 normal control (NC) right-handed adults. Emotional lexical perception tasks were developed; analogous nonemotional tasks were created to control for cognitive and linguistic factors. The three subject groups were matched for gender, age and education. The brain-damaged groups were similar with respect to cerebrovascular etiology, months post-onset, sensory-motor status and lesion location. Parallel emotional and nonemotional tasks included word identification, sentence identification and word discrimination. For both word tasks, RBDs were significantly more impaired than LBDs and NCs in the emotional condition. For all three tasks, RBDs showed a significantly greater performance discrepancy between emotional and nonemotional conditions than did LBDs or NCs. Results were not affected by the valence (i.e. positive/negative) of the stimuli. These findings suggest a dominant role for the right hemisphere in the perception of lexically-based emotional stimuli.

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