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Stages of functional processing and the bihemispheric recognition of Japanese Kana script

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Two experiments were carried out in order to examine the effects of functional steps on the benefits of interhemispheric integration. The purpose of Experiment 1 was to investigate the validity of the Banich (1995a) model, where the benefits of interhemispheric processing increase as the task involves more functional steps. The 16 right-handed subjects were given two types of Hiragana-Katakana script matching tasks. One was the Name Identity (NI) task, and the other was the vowel matching (VM) task, which involved more functional steps compared to the NI task. The VM task required subjects to make a decision whether or not a pair of Katakana-Hiragana scripts had a common vowel. In both tasks, a pair of Kana scripts (Katakana-Hiragana scripts) was tachistoscopically presented in the unilateral visual fields or the bilateral visual fields, where each letter was presented in each visual field. A bilateral visual fields advantage (BFA) was found in both tasks, and the size of this did not differ between the tasks, suggesting that these findings did not support the Banich model. The purpose of Experiment 2 was to examine the effects of imbalanced processing load between the hemispheres on the benefits of interhemispheric integration. In order to manipulate the balance of processing load across the hemispheres, the revised vowel matching (r-VM) task was developed by amending the VM task. The r-VM task was the same as the VM task in Experiment 1, except that a script that has only vowel sound was presented as a counterpart of a pair of Kana scripts. The 24 right-handed subjects were given the r-VM and NI tasks. The results showed that although a BFA showed up in the NI task, it did not in the r-VM task. These results suggested that the balance of processing load between hemispheres would have an influence on the bilateral hemispheric processing.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2000

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