Survival with an asymmetrical brain: Advantages and disadvantages of cerebral lateralization

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (4):575-589 (2005)
Abstract
Recent evidence in natural and semi-natural settings has revealed a variety of left-right perceptual asymmetries among vertebrates. These include preferential use of the left or right visual hemifield during activities such as searching for food, agonistic responses, or escape from predators in animals as different as fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. There are obvious disadvantages in showing such directional asymmetries because relevant stimuli may be located to the animal's left or right at random; there is no a priori association between the meaning of a stimulus (e.g., its being a predator or a food item) and its being located to the animal's left or right. Moreover, other organisms (e.g., predators) could exploit the predictability of behavior that arises from population-level lateral biases. It might be argued that lateralization of function enhances cognitive capacity and efficiency of the brain, thus counteracting the ecological disadvantages of lateral biases in behavior. However, such an increase in brain efficiency could be obtained by each individual being lateralized without any need to align the direction of the asymmetry in the majority of the individuals of the population. Here we argue that the alignment of the direction of behavioral asymmetries at the population level arises as an “evolutionarily stable strategy” under “social” pressures occurring when individually asymmetrical organisms must coordinate their behavior with the behavior of other asymmetrical organisms of the same or different species. Key Words: asymmetry; brain evolution; brain lateralization; development; hemispheric specialization; laterality; lateralization of behavior; social behavior; theory of games.
Keywords asymmetry   brain evolution   brain lateralization   development   hemispheric specialization   laterality   lateralization of behavior   social behavior   theory of games
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0140525X05000105
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 27,678
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Uploading and Branching Identity.Michael A. Cerullo - 2015 - Minds and Machines 25 (1):17-36.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Darwin's Legacy and the Evolution of Cerebral Asymmetries.Onur Güntürkün - 2005 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (4):599-600.
Misleading Asymmetries of Brain Structure.Stephen F. Walker - 2003 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):240-241.
Rethinking Brain Asymmetries in Humans.Bianca Dräger, Caterina Breitenstein & Stefan Knecht - 2005 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (4):598-599.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

321 ( #9,125 of 2,170,012 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #126,620 of 2,170,012 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums