The role of the right cerebral hemisphere in processing noval metaphoric expressions taken from poetry

Pobric, G.
Previousresearch suggests that the right hemisphere (RH) may contribute uniquely to theprocessing of metaphoric language. However, causal relationships between localbrain activity in the RH and metaphors comprehension were never established. In addition, most studieshave focused on familiar metaphoric expressions which might be processedsimilarly to any conventional word combination. The present study was designedto overcome these two problems by employing repetitive transcranial magneticstimulation (rTMS) to examine the role of the RH in processing novel metaphoricexpressions taken from poetry. Right-handed participants were presented withfour types of word pairs, literal, conventional metaphoric and novel metaphoricexpressions, and unrelated word pairs, and were asked to perform a semanticjudgment task. rTMS of the right posterior superior temporal sulcus disruptedprocessing of novel but not conventional metaphors, whereas rTMS over the leftinferior frontal gyrus selectively impaired processing of literal word pairsand conventional but not novel metaphors (Experiment 1). In a furtherexperiment, we showed that these effects were due to right–left asymmetriesrather than posterior–anterior differences (Experiment 2). This is the firstdemonstration of TMS-induced impairment in processing novel metaphoricexpressions, and as such, confirms the specialization of the RH in theactivation of a broader range of related meanings than the left hemisphere,including novel, nonsalient meanings. The findings thus suggest that the RH maybe critically involved in at least one important component of novel metaphorcomprehension, the integration of the individual meanings of two seeminglyunrelated concepts into a meaningful metaphoric expression

Pobric, G., Mashal, N., Faust, M., & Lavidor, M. (2008).

The Role of the Right Cerebral Hemisphere inProcessing Novel Metaphoric Expressions:  A Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20 (1), 170-181.

Last Updated Date : 04/12/2022