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Developmental Psychology on Lateralization of the Brain - Dictionary of Arguments

Upton I 71
Lateralization/Language/right hemisphere/developmental psychology/Upton: Handedness has traditionally been thought to have a strong link to brain organisation. Paul Pierre Broca first described language regions in the left hemisphere of right-handers in the nineteenth century and, from then on, it was accepted that the reverse, that is, right-hemisphere language dominance, should be true of left-handers (Knecht et al., 2000)(1). However, in reality the left-hand side of the brain dominates in language processing for most people: around 95 per cent of right-handers process speech predominantly in the left hemisphere (Springer and Deutsch, 1985)(2), as do more than 50 per cent of left-handers (Knecht et al., 2000)(1). According to Knecht et al., left-handedness is neither a precondition nor a necessary consequence of right-hemisphere language dominance (Knecht et al., 2000(1), p. 2517).
Left-handedness is more frequently seen in creative and artistic individuals, such as musicians and artists, than would be expected by chance (Schachter and Ransil, 1996)(3). This might be explained by the finding that left-handers tend to have exceptional visual-spatial skills (Holtzen, 2000)(4), meaning that they are better able to recognise and represent shape and form (Ghayas and Adil, 2007)(5). Studies have shown a tendency for left-handers to score highly on intelligence tests (e.g. Bower, 1985(6); Ghayas and Adil, 2007(5)); however, it has also been noted that left-handers are more likely to have reading problems than right-handers (Natsopuolos et al., 1998), which may be related to the way they process language. >Language Development/Developmental psychology.



1. Knecht, S, Dräger, B, Deppe, M, Bobe, L and Lohmann, H. (2000) Handedness and hemispheric language dominance in healthy humans. Brain, 123(12): 2512–18.
2. Springer, S.P. and Deutsch, G. (1985) Left Brain, Right Brain. New York: WH Freeman.
3. Schachter, S.C. and Ransil, B.J. (1996) Handedness distributions in nine professional groups. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 82: 51–63.
4. Holtzen, DW (2000) Handedness and professional tennis. International Journal of Neuroscience. 105: 109–19.
5. Ghayas, S. and Adil, A. (2007) Effect of handedness on intelligence level of students. Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology, 33(1): 85–91.
6. Bower, B. (1985) The left hand of math and verbal talent. Science News, 127(17): 263.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Developmental Psychology
Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011


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