Definition: Both halves of the brain which are covered by the cerebral cortex. The right hemisphere and the left hemisphere are connected to each other by the corpus callosum.

Quite Simply...

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  • Both the right and left halves of the brain which are covered by the wrinkled outer layer of the brain.
  • Though each hemisphere has its own specialized functions, both hemispheres work together to produce our thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
  • The right hemisphere controls the left side of the body while the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body.
  • The left hemisphere specializes in language processing while the right hemisphere specializes in processing visual and spatial information.

Examples of Cerebral Hemispheres

  • The left hemisphere regulates positive emotions, controls muscles used in speech, and controls sequence of movements.
  • The left hemisphere also controls spontaneous speaking and writing, memory for words and numbers, and the understanding of speech and writing.
  • The right hemisphere regulates negative emotions, responses to simple commands, and memory for shapes and music.
  • The right hemisphere is also responsible for interpreting spatial relationships and visual images, and for recognizing faces.

Sperry's Split-Brain Experiment

Roger Sperry showed that the two cerebral hemispheres can work independently of each other by performing experiments on split-brain patients (whose corpus callosums were cut). The experiments demonstrated that the patients' abilities to describe the objects, either visually or verbally, depended on which visual field the objects were presented in, and which cerebral hemisphere was activated in interpreting this stimulus. If objects were presented in the right visual field (processed in the left hemisphere), then patients could verbally describe the objects accurately but had difficulty with drawing the image. However, if objects were presented in the left visual field (processed in the right hemisphere), then patients could draw the object but not explain it verbally. Sperry's experiments thus clearly demonstrate cerebral dominance.

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