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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The history of the study of brain asymmetry and hemispheric specialization is reviewed, starting with Broca’s initial discovery of the left frontal basis for speech, continuing through Sperry’s work with “split-brain” patients, and ending with the componential approach that emerged in the 1980s in which the pursuit of an “ultimate dichotomy” underlying hemispheric specialization was finally abandoned and a new emphasis on hemispheric division of labor was introduced. Special emphasis is given to methodological considerations of the use of dichotic listening and tachistoscopic divided visual half-field paradigms. In addition, the topics of interhemispheric interaction and handedness are discussed, with a particular emphasis on the importance of conceptualizing handedness in terms of both direction (left versus right) and degree (strong/consistent versus mixed/inconsistent).

Keywords: brain asymmetry, cerebral dominance, lateral dominance, interhemispheric interaction, corpus callosum, handedness, visual field, dichotic stimulation, tachistoscopic presentation, history of psychology

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