Right Hemisphere Dysfunction and Metaphor Comprehension in Young Adults with Asperger Syndrome

  • Rinat Gold
  • Miriam Faust
Original Paper


This study examined whether the known difficulties in metaphor comprehension exhibited by persons with Asperger syndrome (AS) can be explained by a dysfunctional right hemisphere (RH). Using the divided visual field paradigm, 27 AS participants and 36 matched controls were presented with word pairs of four types (literal, conventional metaphors, novel metaphors, and unrelated word pairs), and were asked to perform a semantic judgment task. The main hypothesis was that whereas the control group participants will show RH superiority for novel metaphor processing, no RH superiority will be found in the AS group. Results indeed indicate much less RH contribution to novel metaphor comprehension in AS, and are discussed in light of linguistic models and the neurobiology of autism.


Asperger syndrome Metaphors Visual fields Hemispheres Semantic processing 



The authors would like to thank Chen Kleinman, Efrat Levitan and Adi Yust for the useful assistance in conducting the experiments. The authors thank the Asperger syndrome research participants and their families for their cooperation and interest in this study. The authors thank the Israel Asperger Syndrome Association and Beit Ekstein organization for their assistance in recruiting the Asperger syndrome participants. This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) grant (number 724/09) to Miriam Faust.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Leslie and Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research CenterBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael

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