Assessing effects of stimulus orientation on perception of lateralized words and nonwords
Numerous studies of the processes of visual word recognition in the left and right cerebral hemispheres have attempted to control for confounding differences in the retinal placement (and hence visual acuity) of the beginnings of words by re-orientating normally-horizontal words vertically. However, despite the popularity of this approach, little is known about the precise effects that vertically orientating normally-horizontal words exert on hemispheric processes of word recognition. In this study, we investigated perception of horizontal and vertical English words and nonwords in the left visual field (LVF) and right visual field (RVF). An eye-tracking device ensured central fixation and a 2AFC paradigm (Reicher–Wheeler task) suppressed influences of non-perceptual bias. Horizontal stimuli produced a strong right visual field advantage for words but not for nonwords, whereas, vertical stimuli produced no hemifield differences at all. Moreover, vertical stimuli produced an advantage for words over nonwords in both visual fields whereas horizontal stimuli produced this effect only in the right visual field. Implications of these findings for the sensitivity of processes of word perception to stimulus orientation in the two cerebral hemispheres are discussed.
- Hemispheric asymmetry
- Word recognition
- ISSN: 0028-3932