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Does degree of asymmetry relate to performance? A reply to Boles and Barth


In a recent critique Boles and Barth (2011) argue that their prior study investigating asymmetry/performance relationships (Boles, Barth, & Merrill, 2008) uncovered the "true" association (i.e., negative correlation) between lateralization of visual lexical processes and word recognition performance. They contend that our study reporting positive correlations of lexical asymmetry and reading performance (Chiarello et al., 2009) was flawed and hence inconclusive. In this response we address the two major objections raised by Boles and Barth (2011) regarding our selection of tasks and asymmetry measures. We conclude that the Boles and Barth principle of task purity is not relevant to the stated aims of our investigation, and that our linear regression method of measuring asymmetry is valid given the high level of accuracy for the tasks we reported. Because the aims of each investigation differed, we argue that it is unwise to attempt to fit each study into the framework favored by Boles and Barth (2011).

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