Laterality differences for word identification in bilinguals

Joel Walters, Robert J. Zatorre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Twenty-three Spanish-English bilinguals were tachistoscopically presented with four-letter common nouns. They viewed 20 word pairs, first in their native language, then in the other, for 40 msec under simultaneous bilateral exposure. This paradigm has previously shown a strong right visual field and therefore left hemisphere superiority for words in a single language. The results show a word identification advantage in the right visual field. This indicates a left hemisphere advantage for processing of both languages, regardless of which was learned first. There are nevertheless wide individual differences in the number of bilinguals showing the expected asymmetry, as compared with monolinguals. There may be a trend, therefore, for less unilaterality of language function in bilinguals, although both languages are seen as being equally lateralized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-167
Number of pages10
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1978
Externally publishedYes


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