Phonological and semantic processing of words: laterality changes according to gender in right- and left-handers

Laterality. 2007 Jul;12(4):332-46. doi: 10.1080/13576500701307148.


The ability of cerebral hemispheres to process language is influenced by multiple factors. The well-known right visual field advantage in word recognition in divided visual field tasks is affected by both intra- and inter-individual variables. For example, hemispheric linguistic abilities may vary within a given individual according to the language component being processed, whereas variations between individuals may be modulated by the individual's handedness and gender. The objective of this divided visual field study was to compare gender differences in right- and left-handers in relation to their hemispheric abilities in performing phonological and semantic tasks. The results indicate that for both types of processing, gender had a different impact on right- and left-handed groups. Unexpectedly, a gender difference in laterality pattern was found in left-handers but not in right-handers for both phonological and semantic abilities. Intriguingly, left-handed men displayed a more symmetrical laterality pattern in phonological and semantic abilities than left-handed women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Male
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Phonetics*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reading*
  • Semantics*