Magnetoencephalographic evidence of early right hemisphere overactivation during metaphor comprehension in schizophrenia

Maor Zeev-Wolf, Miriam Faust, Yechiel Levkovitz, Yuval Harpaz, Abraham Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Whereas language processing in neurotypical brains is left lateralized, individuals with schizophrenia (SZ) display a bilateral or reversed pattern of lateralization. We used MEG to investigate the implications of this atypicality on fine (left hemisphere) versus coarse (right hemisphere) semantic processing. Ten SZ and 14 controls were presented with fine (conventional metaphor, literal, and unrelated expressions) and coarse (novel metaphor) linguistic stimuli. Results showed greater activation of the right hemisphere for novel metaphors and greater bilateral activation for unrelated expressions at the M170 window in SZ. Moreover, at the M350, SZ showed reduced bilateral activation. We conclude that SZ are overreliant on early-stage coarse semantic processing. As a result, they jump too quickly to remote conclusions, with limited control over the meanings they form. This may explain one of the core symptoms of the disorder-loose associations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)770-781
Number of pages12
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Society for Psychophysiological Research.


  • M170
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Metaphor comprehension
  • Schizophrenia
  • Semantic processing


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