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Title:Meaning Apprehension in the Cerebral Hemispheres
Author(s):Kandhadai, Padmapriya A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Federmeier, Kara D.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Linguistics
Abstract:The first two experiments examined hemispheric differences in the breadth of semantic activation using ambiguous words that possess multiple incompatible meanings, and failed to show significant hemispheric differences in activating and maintaining multiple incompatible meanings. In experiments three and four, associated word pairs of varying associative strengths were used to investigate automatic and controlled aspects of semantic processing; the results strongly suggest that both hemispheres were equally capable of accessing associative information and similarly sensitive to associative strength. Contrary to prominent cognitive neuroscience theories of meaning apprehension, this work shows that the hemispheres exhibit broad similarity in semantic representations and breadth of semantic activation. Instead, the present results suggest that the hemispheres differ in when and how they recruit multiple top-down semantic mechanisms to shape that initial activation over time. For instance, the left hemisphere was better able to employ controlled processes to reorder non-canonical meaning relations. In contrast, the right hemisphere needed more explicit task support to recruit such strategic processes. Furthermore, the present results also revealed a left hemisphere benefit for processing predictable information, suggesting that it was better able to use top-down mechanisms to predict and prepare for likely upcoming words. In sum, this thesis provides evidence for multiple, complementary semantic processes recruited in the cerebral hemispheres and outlines how these mechanisms collectively provide robust tools for rapid language comprehension.
Issue Date:2009
Description:143 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3392084
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2009

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