Evoked potential correlates of right hemisfere involvement in the processing of a second language
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The probe evoked potential paradigm was used to assess the relative engagement of both cerebral hemispheres in 10 Spanish-speaking subjects and in 12 subjects for whom Spanish was a second language, during the processing of verbal material presented in Spanish while listening to an irrelevant distractor (music), both presented acoustically through the same channel. Although the distractor condition produced attenuation of the probe EP, it was symmetrical in both groups. In agreement with previous findings, the probe EP showed task-specific activation in the left hemisphere during the activity of listening to the verbal material in the Spanish-speaking subjects, for whom the material was in their native language. However, the opposite effect, i.e. right hemisphere activation, was observed in the non-native group, suggesting an increased participation of the right hemisphere in the processing of foreign language information.