Studies of brain lateralization in individuals with non-specific intellectual disability and Down syndrome suggest atypical brain lateralization to speech perception. According to the biological dissociation model, the right hemisphere (RH) mediates speech perception and the left hemisphere (LH) mediates motor control in Down syndrome. The current study aimed to test, for the first time, brain lateralization in both non-specific intellectual disability and Down syndrome, compared to individuals with typical development. Furthermore, bilateral word presentation was utilized to assess interhemispheric communication. Twenty adults with non-specific intellectual disability, 14 adults with Down syndrome, and 30 adults with typical development participated in the study. Participants in the non-specific intellectual disability and Down syndrome groups were trained to perform the task prior to the experiment. The results showed that whereas hemispheric lateralization did not differ between individuals with non-specific intellectual disability and typical development, individuals with DS showed reduced brain lateralization in comparison to adults with typical development. All three groups showed no significant difference between words presented to the LH and bilaterally. Our results also show that individuals with intellectual disabilities can benefit from training programmes and that they may perform equally as fast as their typically developing peers.
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- Down syndrome
- intellectual disability
- lexical decision