Impact of right hemispheric damage on a hierarchy of complexity evidenced in young normal subjects

Brain Cogn. 2003 Nov;53(2):152-7. doi: 10.1016/s0278-2626(03)00099-x.


The occurrence of a right-hemisphere lesion can interfere with pragmatic abilities and particularly with the processing of non-literal speech acts in which the listener has to identify the speaker's intention. The aim of this study was to test RHD subjects' ability to process non-literal speech acts. A chronometric approach to RHD and matched control performance showed that RHD subjects are impaired in the processing of non-literal speech, though they are also sensitive to the hierarchy of complexity among types. Only the processing of indirect speech acts was not shown to differ from that of normals, probably because the stimuli were of the conventional type. These results show the relevancy of a chronometric approach. They also emphasize the importance of further studying RHD subjects' ability to attribute intentions to protagonists in a short story.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aphasia / diagnosis*
  • Aphasia / etiology*
  • Brain Ischemia / complications*
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / complications*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / physiopathology*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Male
  • Metaphor*
  • Middle Aged
  • Reaction Time
  • Severity of Illness Index