The nature of hemispheric specialization in man

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4 (1):51-63 (1981)
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The traditional verbal/nonverbal dichotomy is inadequate for completely describing cerebral lateralization. Musical functions are not necessarily mediated by the right hemisphere; evidence for a specialist left-hemisphere mechanism dedicated to the encoded speech signal is weakening, and the right hemisphere possesses considerable comprehensional powers. Right-hemisphere processing is often said to be characterized by holistic or gestalt apprehension, and face recognition may be mediated by this hemisphere partly because of these powers, partly because of the right hemisphere's involvement in emotional affect, and possibly through the hypothesized existence of a specialist face processor or processors in the right. The latter hypothesis may, however, suffer the same fate as the one relating to a specialist encodedness processor for speech in the left. Verbal processing is largely the province of the left because of this hemisphere's possession of sequential, analytic, time-dependent mechanisms. Other distinctions are special cases of an analytic/holistic dichotomy. More fundamentally, however, the left hemisphere is characterized by its mediation of discriminations involving duration, temporal order, sequencing, and rhythm, at thesensory level, and especially at themotorlevel. Spatial aspects characterize the right, the mapping of exteroceptive body space, and the positions of fingers, limbs, and perhaps articulators, with respect to actual and target positions. Thus there is a continuum of function between the hemispheres, rather than a rigid dichotomy, the differences being quantitative rather than qualitative, of degree rather than of kind.



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References found in this work

How Does a Brain Build a Cognitive Code?Stephen Grossberg - 1980 - Psychological Review 87 (1):1-51.
Looking at Upside-Down Faces.Robert K. Yin - 1969 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 81 (1):141.
Sex Differences in Human Brain Asymmetry: A Critical Survey.Jeannette McGlone - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (2):215-227.

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