Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Laura Menenti (Donders Series 40)

Date of news: 9 July 2010

July 2, 2010.

Promotor:Prof.dr. P. Hagoort, Copromotor: Dr. K.M. Petersson

The Right Language

different hemisheric contributions to language production and comprehension in context

We all know our brain’s left hemisphere ‘does’ language. Right? In her doctoral dissertation, Laura Menenti studied the role regions in the right hemisphere play in language processing. She studied reading, listening, and speaking, using functional MRI to measure brain responses. In the process, she pioneered the study of the speaking brain, which has so far had barely been undertaken. She showed that converting the message a speaker wants to convey to a language involves both left- and right hemispheric regions. She also showed that right hemispheric regions play a role in relating new incoming information to its context. In experimental research, language has so far been investigated in as much isolation as possible. In our everyday lives, however, context plays a pivotal role in our language use. The contribution of right hemispheric regions to language, then, isn’t some exotic extra: it is relevant whenever we actually speak about something.

Laura Menenti