Ian Goddard igoddard at
Thu Aug 15 02:25:00 EST 2002


Brain and Language, 2002 Sep;82(3):327 

How brand names are special: brands, words, and hemispheres.

Gontijo P, Rayman J, Zhang S, Zaidel E.

Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles,
90095-1563, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Previous research has consistently shown differences between the
processing of proper names and of common nouns, leading to the belief
that proper names possess a special neuropsychological status. We
investigate the category of brand names and suggest that brand names
also have a special neuropsychological status, but one which is
different from proper names. The findings suggest that the hemispheric
lexical status of the brand names is mixed-they behave like words in
some respects and like nonwords in others. Our study used familiar
upper case brand names, common nouns, and two different types of
nonwords ("weird" and "normal") differing in length, as stimuli in a
lateralized lexical decision task (LDT). Common nouns, brand names,
weird nonwords, and normal nonwords were recognized in that decreasing
order of speed and accuracy. A right visual field (RVF) advantage was
found for all four lexical types. Interestingly, brand names, similar
to nonwords, were found to be less lateralized than common nouns,
consistent with theories of category-specific lexical processing.
Further, brand names were the only type of lexical items to show a
capitalization effect: brand names were recognized faster when they
were presented in upper case than in lower case. In addition, while
string length affected the recognition of common nouns only in the
left visual field (LVF) and the recognition of nonwords only in the
RVF, brand names behaved like common nouns in exhibiting length
effects only in the LVF.

PMID: 12160528 [PubMed - in process]

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