Hemispheric memory for surrealistic versus realistic paintings

The issue of hemispheric processing of art works, either alone or in relation to a certain aspect of language, was investigated in normal subjects. Three experiments were performed. In the first, memory for surrealistic versus realistic pictures was investigated. In the second, memory for metaphoric versus literal titles of these pictures was measured. In the third, memory for the paintings was determined as a function of the same titles. The results of the first experiment showed a right visual field (RVF) advantage for the surrealistic pictures. No field difference emerged for the realistic pictures. The results of the second experiment indicated a RVF advantage in memory for metaphoric titles. Moreover, in the RVF, there was an advantage for titles from surrealistic-metaphoric pairs over all other pairings. Results of experiment three showed a RVF advantage in remembering pictures from surrealistic-metaphoric pairs and in the left visual field (LVF) there was advantage for pictures with literal titles. Taken together, the results suggest left hemisphere advantage in processing meaningful, yet incongruous arrays, both pictorial and linguistic. The results are discussed in terms of hemispheric memory for art works, metaphors, and the relationship between the two in the brain.
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