Hemisphere differences in conscious and unconscious word reading

Consciousness and Cognition 13 (3):550-64 (2004)
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Hemisphere differences in word reading were examined using explicit and implicit processing measures. In an inclusion task, which indexes both conscious and unconscious word reading processes, participants were briefly presented with a word in either the right or the left visual field and were asked to use this word to complete a three-letter word stem. In an exclusion task, which estimates unconscious word reading, participants completed the word stem with any word other than the prime word. Experiment 1 showed that words presented to either visual field were processed in very similar ways in both tasks, with the exception that words in the right visual field were more readily accessible for conscious report. Experiment 2 indicated that unconsciously processed words are shared between the hemispheres, as similar results were obtained when either the same or the opposite visual field received the word stem. Experiment 3 demonstrated that this sharing between hemispheres is cortically mediated by testing a split-brain patient. These results suggest that the left hemisphere advantage for word reading holds only for explicit measures; unconscious word reading is much more balanced between the hemispheres



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