Patients with single brain lesions in the anterior or posterior left and right hemispheres and a group of controls were studied in two priming experiments. The first experiment employed associative pairs (DOCTOR-NURSE) and the second employed identical pairs (NURSE-nurse). Short and long prime-target stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs) (i.e., 250 and 1850 msec) were manipulated within block in both experiments. In the first experiment, patients with left hemisphere injury showed a deficient priming effect while patients with right hemisphere injury and controls showed a normal pattern. In contrast, all groups showed an identity priming effect in the second experiment. These results indicate that while entries in the mental lexicon are available for the groups of patients studied, the spread of activation to related concepts in this lexicon is disrupted in the left hemisphere-damaged group.

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