Semantic additivity and semantic inhibition: dissociable processes in the cerebral hemispheres?Brain Lang. 1992 Jan; 42(1):52-76.BL
We report the results of two visual half-field semantic priming experiments using a high proportion of related trials to examine hemisphere asymmetries for semantic processes beyond those attributable to automatic meaning activation. Contrary to previous investigations, we obtained inhibition for unrelated trials in both visual fields. However, priming was additive (being greater for words related via category membership and association than for either single dimension) only when words were presented to the RVF/left hemisphere. A third experiment, using centrally presented stimuli, implied that semantic additivity should be attributed to post-access meaning comparisons and inhibition to the generation of semantic expectancies. These results suggest (1) that inhibition and additivity are potentially dissociable "controlled" semantic processes and (2) that the left hemisphere predominates for meaning integration across successively presented words. The availability of finely tuned meaning integration processes in the left hemisphere may contribute to its superiority in language processing, despite right hemisphere competence for some semantic operations.