The right hemisphere involvement in the processing of morphologically derived words

Paola Marangolo, Chiara Incoccia, Luigi Pizzamiglio, Umberto Sabatini, Alessandro Castriota-Scanderbeg, Cristina Burani

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It is widely documented that the left hemisphere is dominant in all complex linguistic tasks, including the processing of inflectional morphology. Both in Italian and in other languages, patients with brain damage with a selective deficit in derivational morphology have never been reported. Here we present the unusual case of two patients with very similar right-hemisphere lesions, who in the absence of aphasic disorders showed a selective inability in producing derivational morphology. Although both patients were unimpaired in producing verb infinitives, they both showed a selective deficit in producing nouns derived from verbs. This difficulty was not present in deriving nouns from other grammatical categories, such as adjectives. Interestingly, both patients mostly substituted the derived noun with the past participle of the verb. This pattern of results documents for the first time a right-hemisphere contribution in the domain of derivational morphology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-371
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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