Activation of the Lexical-semantic System in Right-brain-damaged Right-handers

  • Jean Gagnon
  • Pierre Goulet
  • Yves Joanette
Part of the Linguistische Berichte book series (LINGB)


A right hemisphere lesion can be the source of difficulties in the processing of words in right-handed individuals (Joanette, Goulet & Hannequin 1990). The research that have attempted to shed light on the nature of these difficulties have taken two orientations. One such orientation is the stream of research that has investigated the semantic nature of the lexical deficits among right-brain-damaged (RBD) subjects (Chiarello & Church 1986; Gainotti, Caltagirone & Miceli 1979, 1983; Gainotti, Caltagirone, Miceli & Masullo 1981; Joanette & Goulet 1986; Lesser 1974). These studies have tried to specify the semantic components that were affected following a right hemisphere lesion, such as the nonliteral meanings of words (Brownell, Potter, Michelow & Gardner 1984; Gardner & Denes 1973). Most of the time they have used tasks that required controlled or conscious processing of the lexical-semantic knowledge (e.g. written or oral comprehension tasks for single words, semantic judgment tasks, word fluency tasks, etc). Therefore, a second stream of research became more interested in the root cause of the semantic deficiencies found among RBD subjects than in the kind of semantic word components that were affected (Brownell & Molloy 1990; Joanette, Goulet & LeDorze 1988; Tompkins 1990). More precisely, these studies have attempted to determine whether the deficit in RBD subjects is attributable to difficulties in the use of the semantic knowledge or to a disruption of its organization.


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Copyright information

© Westdeutscher Verlag GmbH, Opladen 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean Gagnon
    • 1
  • Pierre Goulet
    • 1
  • Yves Joanette
    • 1
  1. 1.MontréalCanada

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