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Title: Brain Lateralization and Cognitive Capacity
Contributor(s): Rogers, Lesley J  (author)
Publication Date: 2021-07-03
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.3390/ani11071996Open Access Link
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Abstract: One way to increase cognitive capacity is to avoid duplication of functions on the left and right sides of the brain. There is a convincing body of evidence showing that such asymmetry, or lateralization, occurs in a wide range of both vertebrate and invertebrate species. Each hemisphere of the brain can attend to different types of stimuli or to different aspects of the same stimulus and each hemisphere analyses information using different neural processes. A brain can engage in more than one task at the same time, as in monitoring for predators (right hemisphere) while searching for food (left hemisphere). Increased cognitive capacity is achieved if individuals are lateralized in one direction or the other. The advantages and disadvantages of individual lateralization are discussed. This paper argues that directional, or population-level, lateralization, which occurs when most individuals in a species have the same direction of lateralization, provides no additional increase in cognitive capacity compared to individual lateralization although directional lateralization is advantageous in social interactions. Strength of lateralization is considered, including the disadvantage of being very strongly lateralized. The role of brain commissures is also discussed with consideration of cognitive capacity.
Publication Type: Review
Source of Publication: Animals, 11(7), p. 1-15
Publisher: MDPI AG
Place of Publication: Switzerland
ISSN: 2076-2615
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 520202 Behavioural neuroscience
520401 Cognition
310901 Animal behaviour
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
HERDC Category Description: D1 A Substantial Review of an Entire Field of Study
Appears in Collections:Review
School of Science and Technology

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