Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/20892
Title: A Matter of Degree: Strength of Brain Asymmetry and Behaviour
Contributor(s): Rogers, Lesley  (author)
Publication Date: 2017
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.3390/sym9040057Open Access Link
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/20892
Abstract: Research on a growing number of vertebrate species has shown that the left and right sides of the brain process information in different ways and that lateralized brain function is expressed in both specific and broad aspects of behaviour. This paper reviews the available evidence relating strength of lateralization to behavioural/cognitive performance. It begins by considering the relationship between limb preference and behaviour in humans and primates from the perspectives of direction and strength of lateralization. In birds, eye preference is used as a reflection of brain asymmetry and the strength of this asymmetry is associated with behaviour important for survival (e.g., visual discrimination of food from non-food and performance of two tasks in parallel). The same applies to studies on aquatic species, mainly fish but also tadpoles, in which strength of lateralization has been assessed as eye preferences or turning biases. Overall, the empirical evidence across vertebrate species points to the conclusion that stronger lateralization is advantageous in a wide range of contexts. Brief discussion of interhemispheric communication follows together with discussion of experiments that examined the effects of sectioning pathways connecting the left and right sides of the brain, or of preventing the development of these left-right connections. The conclusion reached is that degree of functional lateralization affects behaviour in quite similar ways across vertebrate species. Although the direction of lateralization is also important, in many situations strength of lateralization matters more. Finally, possible interactions between asymmetry in different sensory modalities is considered.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Symmetry, 9(4), p. 1-13
Publisher: MDPIAG
Place of Publication: Switzerland
ISSN: 2073-8994
Field of Research (FOR): 179999 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified
060805 Animal Neurobiology
060801 Animal Behaviour
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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