Right and left hemisphere cooperation for drawing predictive and coherence inferences during normal story comprehension

Mark Jung Beeman*, Edward M. Bowden, Morton Ann Gernsbacher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations

Abstract

In three experiments, healthy young participants listened to stories promoting inferences and named inference-related test words presented to the right visual field - Left Hemisphere (rvf-LH) or to the left visual field - Right Hemisphere (lvf-RH). Participants showed priming for predictive inferences only for target words presented to the lvf-RH; in contrast, they showed priming for coherence inferences only for target words presented to the rvf-LH. These results, plus the fact that patients with RH brain damage have difficulty drawing coherence inferences and do not show inference- related priming, suggest that information capable of supporting predictive inferences is more likely to be initially activated in the RH than the LH, but following coherence breaks these concepts (now coherence inferences) are completed in the LH. These results are consistent with the theory that the RH engages in relatively coarse semantic coding, which aids full comprehension of discourse. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-336
Number of pages27
JournalBrain and Language
Volume71
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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