Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Brain Lateralization

Brain function studies indicate that almost every major function tends to be lateralized. This does not mean that the specific function only utilizes one hemisphere or one quadrant, rather it means that often one portion of the brain “takes the lead” or “directs” the function. There is also some evidence that human beings have areas of brain giftedness, meaning that some tasks use less energy than others. This has sometimes been over-simplified as being “left-brained or “right-brained,” or “frontal” or “basal.” The efficient and effective use of any brain function really utilizes all parts of the brain working together. As Carl Zimmer has pointed out, lateralization still means the quadrants and hemispheres still work together. They have an intimate working relationship. For example, the left hemisphere contributes aspects of audible speech, decodes sounds that form words, and assists with grammar and syntax. The left hemisphere does not, however, have a monopoly on language processing. The right hemisphere is sensitive to the emotional features of language including accompanying body language, helps form the motions for “Sign language,” and process the pitch and rhythm of speech that help convey intonation and stress. It’s a delicate dance that requires both hemispheric partners collaborating together (unless an entire hemisphere is lost during early childhood, in which case one hemisphere is able to develop and produce all the functions of both hemispheres).

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