Divergent and convergent hemispheric processes in idiom comprehension: The role of idioms predictability

Tal Sela, Meir Simchah Panzer, Michal Lavidor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Idioms are a form of figurative language expressions in which their intended meaning is not derived from the meaning of constituent words. Previous studies examining hemispheric asymmetries in idiom comprehension argue about the relative contributions of the hemispheres to the figurative and literal processing. However, it is not clear what psycholinguistic factors may direct hemispheric asymmetries and the way in which figurative vs. literal interpretations are processed. In the current studs we report a behavioral study that examined whether idiom-irrelevant meanings are suppressed or retained as a function of visual field and the degree of predictability of the idioms. Native Hebrew speakers were presented with idioms in a semantic judgment task, where we manipulated visual field and predictability. The results seem to support the notion that a bi-hemispheric network is involved in idiom comprehension with prevalence for the left hemisphere. Overall, the results confirm the role of idioms predictability as the main factor that directs idiom comprehension and modulates hemispheric asymmetry in semantic processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-146
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neurolinguistics
StatePublished - Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Figurative language processing
  • Idioms
  • Right-hemisphere


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