Left_Brain - The left brain knows what the right hand is...

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9/7/10 10:41 AM The left brain knows what the right hand is doing Page 1 of 2 http://www.apa.org/print-this.aspx The left brain knows what the right hand is doing New research explores how brain lateralization influences our lives. By Michael Price Monitor Staff January 2009, Vol 40, No. 1 Print version: page 60 FEATURE Browse through a list of history's most famous left-handers and you are likely to see Albert Einstein's name. You may even see people tying Einstein's genius to his left-handedness. The problem is, Einstein's left-handedness is a myth. Myriad photos show him writing on a chalkboard with his right hand, for example. But handedness has its roots in the brain—right-handed people have left-hemisphere-dominant brains and vice versa—and the lefties who claim Einstein weren't all that far off. While he was certainly right-handed, autopsies suggest his brain didn't reflect the typical left-side dominance in language and speech areas. His brain's hemispheres were more symmetrical—a trait typical of left-handers and the ambidextrous. By comparison, 95 percent of righties have brains that strictly divvy up tasks: The left hemisphere almost exclusively handles language and speech, the right handles emotion and image processing—but only about 20 percent of lefties have brains that divide up these duties so rigidly. Brain hemisphere specialist Michael Corballis, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, points out that having the hemispheres manage different tasks might increase the brain's efficiency. "There's an advantage to cerebral dominance because it localizes function to one hemisphere," he says. "Otherwise, information has to cross back and forth across the corpus callosum, and that can sometimes cause problems."
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