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Strategies of semantic categorization in the cerebral hemispheres

, : Strategies of semantic categorization in the cerebral hemispheres. Brain and Language 66(3): 341-357

Strategies of semantic categorization in intact cerebral hemispheres were studied in two experiments by presenting names of typical and atypical category instances to the left visual field (LVF) (right hemisphere) or to the right visual field (RVF) (left hemisphere). The results revealed that the typicality of instances had a large effect on categorization times in the LVF in both experiments, suggesting that the right hemisphere relies strongly on a holistic, similarity-based comparison strategy. In Experiment 1, the typicality effect was weaker in the RVF than in the LVF. In Experiment 2, a typicality effect in the RVF was observed for the "four-footed animal" category but not for the "bird" category. The hypothesis that the left hemisphere employs a strategy based on defining or necessary features is not supported by the observed typicality effect in the "four-footed animal" category. Instead, it is suggested that the left hemisphere may be able to categorize on the basis of prestored instance-category knowledge. When such knowledge is not available (e.g., as for four-footed animals), a similarity-based comparison strategy is employed by the left hemisphere.


PMID: 10190995

DOI: 10.1006/brln.1998.2033

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