Music Reading Expertise Modulates Hemispheric Lateralization in English Word processing but not in Chinese Character Processing

Abstract

Recent research has shown that expertise in English and music reading both rely more on left hemisphere (LH) processing whereas Chinese character processing is more bilateral. Accordingly, music reading expertise may influence hemispheric lateralization in English word processing more than in Chinese processing due to stronger competition in LH processing. We recruited musicians and non-musicians in a divided visual field study of English word and Chinese character naming. In English word processing, whereas non-musicians showed a typical right visual field (RVF)/LH advantage, musicians showed a left visual field (LVF)/right hemisphere (RH) advantage. This effect may be due to competition for LH processing between music and English reading expertise, making musicians’ English word processing more right-lateralized. In contrast, in Chinese character naming, both musicians and non-musicians showed a similar bilateral pattern. Music reading experience may have differential influences on processing different languages, depending on their similarities in the cognitive processes involved.


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