Hemispheric asymmetry of emotion words in a non-native mind: a divided visual field study.Laterality. 2015 May; 20(3):326-47.L
This study investigates hemispheric specialization for emotional words among proficient non-native speakers of English by means of the divided visual field paradigm. The motivation behind the study is to extend the monolingual hemifield research to the non-native context and see how emotion words are processed in a non-native mind. Sixty eight females participated in the study, all highly proficient in English. The stimuli comprised 12 positive nouns, 12 negative nouns, 12 non-emotional nouns and 36 pseudo-words. To examine the lateralization of emotion, stimuli were presented unilaterally in a random fashion for 180 ms in a go/no-go lexical decision task. The perceptual data showed a right hemispheric advantage for processing speed of negative words and a complementary role of the two hemispheres in the recognition accuracy of experimental stimuli. The data indicate that processing of emotion words in non-native language may require greater interhemispheric communication, but at the same time demonstrates a specific role of the right hemisphere in the processing of negative relative to positive valence. The results of the study are discussed in light of the methodological inconsistencies in the hemifield research as well as the non-native context in which the study was conducted.