Interhemispheric categorization of pictures and words.Brain Cogn. 2003 Jul; 52(2):181-91.BC
Earlier studies suggest that interhemispheric processing increases the processing power of the brain in cognitively complex tasks as it allows the brain to divide the processing load between the hemispheres. We report two experiments suggesting that this finding does not generalize to word-picture pairs: they are processed at least as efficiently when processed by a single hemisphere as compared to processing occurring between the two hemispheres. We examined whether dividing the stimuli between the visual fields/hemispheres would be more advantageous than unilateral stimulus displays in the semantic categorization of simultaneously presented pictures, words, and word-picture pairs. The results revealed that within-domain stimuli (semantically related picture pairs or word pairs) were categorized faster in bilateral than in unilateral displays, whereas cross-domain stimuli (word-picture pairs) were not categorized faster in bilateral than in unilateral displays. It is suggested that interhemispheric sharing of word-picture stimuli is not advantageous as compared to unilateral processing conditions because words and pictures use different access routes, and therefore, it may be possible to process in parallel simultaneously displayed word-picture stimuli within a single hemisphere.