Word Processing Deficits in Persons with Right Hemisphere Damage: Evidence from in-Depth Analyses of Verbal Fluency Tasks

Gopee Krishnan, Bellur Rajashekar, Prathibha Karanth


The role of the right hemisphere (RH) in word processing continues to interest the neuroscientists. Occasional explorations of the word retrieval functions of the RH with verbal fluency tasks have shown poor performance in persons with right hemisphere damage (RHD). However, there are differing views on the mechanism underlying the poor performance in this population. Some investigations attribute the deficient performance on verbal fluency task to the lexico-semantic deficits, whereas, others ascribe it to deficient cognitive agility. To illustrate these differing views, we performed in-depth analyses of (i.e., accuracy scores, clusters, switches, & time course of word retrieval) a group of 22 participants with RHD on eight semantic and three phoneme fluency tasks. Comparisons with the neuro-typical participants yielded evidence in favor of the linguistic rather than cognitive deficits as the mechanism behind poor word retrieval skills in persons with RHD.


Right hemisphere, word retrieval, lexico-semantic deficit, verbal fluency, cluster, switch, time course analysis.

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