Left Brain--Right Brain Differences: Inquiries, Evidence, and New Approaches

Left Brain--Right Brain Differences: Inquiries, Evidence, and New Approaches

Left Brain--Right Brain Differences: Inquiries, Evidence, and New Approaches

Left Brain--Right Brain Differences: Inquiries, Evidence, and New Approaches

Synopsis

This volume integrates past clinical findings with the latest research on cerebral asymmetry in order to identify why humans process information in different ways. A must for anyone who wants to understand human cognitive nature further, specifically the reasons why we are "wired" a certain way and whether these cortical circuits are flexible enough to be altered, this book presents the most up-to-date information on hemispheric differences within normal and clinical populations. Its focus on sex, handedness, and developmental differences is critical to the derivation of a better perspective on how future research should be conducted in this expanding science.

Iaccino begins by explaining basic brain structures and types of cognitive styles assigned to each hemisphere. He then details studies involving various clinical populations -- psychophysiological, split-brain, dyslexic, and psychotic -- to support the claim that the two hemispheres are different, morphologically and functionally speaking. Applying this clinical research to the more normal population, the author uncovers striking cortical variations between the sexes and between the handedness groups, along with developmental changes which occur as a function of time. Finally, he provides a detailed summary of the previous chapters and highlights where asymmetrical research may be headed in the future.

Excerpt

Ever since my undergraduate schooling in psychology, I have been interested in doing experimental research on the topic of human cerebral asymmetries (i.e., left brain-right brain differences). In fact, my senior independent study involved a basic replication of one of Curry's (1967) classic dichotic listening designs to determine if a left-ear advantage (LEA) or right-hemisphere superiority existed for nonverbal inputs.

Although my findings yielded nonsignificant differences between ear sides, I was not discouraged so easily and continued my research endeavors in asymmetries while in graduate school and beyond. Since 1988, my experimental methodologies have become more controlled and precise; further, the results obtained from these numerous studies have shown some interesting differences in hemispheric processing, not only between the genders, but also across hand-dominant groups.

Therefore, one of the reasons for my writing this text is to share my most recent findings with other colleagues in this specialized area of study. More importantly, it is my opinion that cerebral asymmetries effectively encompass a number of fields in psychology--from perceptual to physiological and comparative to even the cognitive--to address the age-old questions of human nature: Why are cerebral asymmetries present to such a strong degree in this particular species and how are these asymmetries activated both in the laboratory and in everyday situations? You may derive some answers from this work set before you.

This book basically examines those issues most central to human cerebral asymmetries. It is not intended to be an exhaustive research account, nor is it designed to provide the reader with definitive statements . . .

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