Hemispheric laterality and dissociative tendencies: Differences in emotional processing in a dichotic listening task

Consciousness and Cognition 17 (1):267-275 (2008)
Abstract
The present work investigates whether the hemispheric processing of both verbal and emotional stimuli, studied by means of a dichotic listening task, differs between normal high and low dissociators as assessed by the Dissociative Experiences Scale . Development, reliability and validity of a dissociation scale. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 174, 727–735). Two groups of subjects , participated in the experiment. The task consisted in identifying both verbal and emotional stimulus-targets, respectively, on successive sessions. Reaction time and response accuracy were registered and analysed using ANOVA . The interaction between stimuli , channel , and dissociation level reached statistical significance in terms of accuracy measures = 4.75; p < .05). Both high and low dissociators exhibited the expected right ear advantage on verbal targets. On the other hand, whereas low dissociators exhibited the expected left ear advantage on emotional targets, high dissociators failed to follow this typical pattern of hemispheric asymmetry: both hemispheres exhibited similar performances. These results confirm the hypothesis that dissociation is related to changes in hemispheric processing, specifically of emotional information
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