Faculty Sponsor, if applicable
Dr. Sandra Virtue
In this study, we investigated how the cerebral hemispheres process puns during reading. Participants read puns and completed a lexical decision (i.e., word identification task) to word or nonword targets presented quickly in each visual field-hemisphere that either matched the literal or the figurative interpretation of a pun. For example, after reading the sentence “The inventor of the hay baling machine made a bundle,” participants were presented with either the target word “straw” (i.e., representing the literal interpretation of the pun) or the target word “dollars” (i.e., representing the figurative interpretation of the pun) in the right visual field—left hemisphere or left visual field—right hemisphere. We predict greater facilitation for target words related to both the figurative and literal interpretation of the pun in the right hemisphere compared to the left hemisphere. This pattern of results would suggest that the right hemisphere plays a unique role when individuals process puns during reading.
Type of Research
Doctoral-Undergraduate Opportunity for Scholarship (DUOS)