Some people are left brined, others are right brained

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Origins of the myth

  • The history of Localization
  • Franz Joseph Gall - phrenology
  • Paul Broca - pateint 'Tan' had expressive aphasia, lessions in left hemisphere
  • However, there are issues of defining Dominance:
  • No evidence for laterality
  • 10% of general population are left handed but dominance can be in the hands, legs, and can differ in activities e.g. playing guitar
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Consequences of the myth

  • Brain Gym exercises - use phrases such as ' activation of hemispheric intergration', scientific jargon makes it sound like an effective exercise
  • NLP - claims that by matching and mirroring 'preferred representational systems' it can improve communication between the hemispheres
  • Learning styles - marketing for different learning styles, creativity of right brained people, analytic way of left brain people
  • Simon Baren-Cohen (2003) - suggests female and male brain are predominantly hard wired for different functions, raises concerns of neurosexism?
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Evidence

  • Sperry (1968) - research on people with a severed corpus callosum, individuals cannot verbally describe an image that appears to the right visual field but can draw a picture of what they saw. Suggests the hemispheres work together
  • Mcrove (1999) - suggests the hemispheres differ in how they process things not what they process
  • Pashler et al (2008) - little supporting evidence for effectiveness of different learning styles
  • Bandler and Grinder (1979) - no evidence for 'eyedness'
  • McCabe and Castel (2008) - people are more likely to believe research if brain scans and graphs are included in the paper
  • Cordelia Fine (2010) - critical of Baren-Cohen
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