Auditory Lateralization of Concrete and Abstract Gujarati Words
Previous research has shown that speech comprehension is a left hemisphere (LH) dominant task for right-handed individuals. Associating hemispheres of the brain with specific tasks helps us relate cognitive function to brain structures. The majority of past research has been conducted using English. The purpose of the present research was to determine if language is lateralized in Gujarati, an Indian language, to the same extent as English. In this experiment, participants were asked to determine if an auditorily presented stimulus was a word or nonword in Gujarati. Each word/nonword was presented randomly to the participant’s right or left ear. Because the auditory cortex is arranged contralaterally, words presented to the right ear are initially processed in the left hemisphere and words presented to the left ear are initially processed in the right hemisphere. Half of the real words were concrete words (e.g., carrot) and half were abstract (e.g., truth). According to Paivio’s dual coding theory, concrete words strongly activate both hemispheres, while abstract words strongly activate only the LH. As a result, I hypothesized that concrete words will be processed the fastest and there should be no difference when they are presented to the right ear (LH) or left ear (RH). In contrast, decision times for abstract words should be faster when presented to the right ear (LH) than the left ear (RH). Both abstract and concrete words should be processed faster than nonwords. While further research must be conducted, the results of this experiment provided much needed information about the processing/lateralization of both English and Gujarati words in the brain.