OBJECTIVE: The purposes of this study were to compare right ear (left
hemisphere) advantage for dichotic words in schizophrenia and depression
and to assess its association with antipsychotic medication, symptom
ratings, and gender. METHOD: Thirty-two schizophrenic patients and 65
patients with major depression were given the Fused Rhymed Words Test, a
dichotic listening measure of hemispheric dominance for language. RESULTS:
An earlier finding of smaller left hemisphere advantage in schizophrenic
patients was replicated. There was no significant change in ear advantage
in a subgroup of the schizophrenic patients tested when they were taking
neuroleptics and when they were not. The smaller left hemisphere advantage
in the schizophrenic patients was not dependent on gender but was related
to symptom ratings on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings are consistent with a left hemisphere dysfunction
in schizophrenia, which is associated with positive symptoms.