Visual field differences can arise from hemispheric specializations or perceptual asymmetries. Deciding which of the two is responsible for a particular visual field difference is a recurrent problem for researchers concerned with lateral asymmetries. In the present paper, the difficulties involved in interpreting visual field asymmetries are discussed as they apply to the Young and Ellis 1985 research on the interactive effects of word length and visual hemifield on the recognition of English words. We show that one of their critical results disappears when small changes are made to their experimental procedure. Our data demonstrate that the visual field differences Young and Ellis reported were the result of preceptual asymmetries rather than different methods of lexical access in the two cerebral hemispheres.