Lateralized Affective Word Priming and Gender Effect.Front Psychol. 2018; 9:2591.FP
Affective priming research suggests that processing of affective words is a quick and short lived process. Using the divided visual field (DVF) paradigm, investigations of the lateralization of affective word processing have yielded inconsistent results. However, research on semantic processing of words generally suggests that the left hemisphere (LH) is the location where rapid processing occurs. We investigated the processing of affective (emotional) words using a combination of the DVF and affective priming paradigms, and four stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs)-0, 150, 300, and 750 ms. The priming pattern yielded by males (n = 32) showed quick priming (at 0-ms SOA) of affective words in the LH; there was slower right hemisphere (RH) priming of affective words (at 750-ms SOA). In females (n = 28), both hemispheres were associated with quick priming of affective words (at 300-ms SOA in the LH and at 150-ms SOA in the RH). Results demonstrate the capability of both cerebral hemispheres in the processing of words with affective meaning, along with leading role of the left hemisphere in this process. This is similar to the results of semantic research that suggest access to word meanings occurs in both hemispheres, but different mechanisms might be involved. While the LH seems to prime affective words quickly regardless of gender, gender differences are likely in the RH in that affective word processing probably occurs slowly in males but rapidly in females. This gender difference may result from increased sensitivity to the emotional feature of affective words in females.