Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Maryellen RomeroEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_680


Hemispheric specialization


Asymmetry is the discordance between the right and left sides of the brain in respect to structure and/or function.

Current Knowledge

Although not initially linked to brain asymmetry, the first behavioral asymmetry that was likely noted was the superiority of motor skills exhibited by one hand, most commonly the right, over the other. The next real breakthrough with regard to asymmetry is generally thought to have occurred in the nineteenth century with the discovery that acquired language deficits (aphasia) were typically associated with lesions of the left hemisphere. Since then, other asymmetries, both functional and structural, have been identified with regard to the two cerebral hemispheres.

Structural Asymmetries

Structural asymmetries of the brain were first noted around the beginning of the twentieth century, but it was not until the late 1960s that these were first strongly correlated with functional differences between the...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Readings

  1. Corballis, P. M. (2003). Visuospatial processing and the right-hemisphere interpreter. Brain and Cognition, 53, 171–176.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Davidson, R. J. (1992). Emotion and affective style: Hemispheric substrates. Psychological Science, 3, 39–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Davidson, R. J., & Hugdahl, K. (Eds.). (1996). Brain asymmetry. Cambridge, MA: Bradford Books.Google Scholar
  4. Gazzaniga, M. S. (2000). The new cognitive neurosciences. Boston: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  5. Gazzaniga, M. S., Ivry, R. B., & Mangun, G. R. (2002). Cognitive neuroscience: The biology of the mind. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  6. Geschwind, N., & Levitsky, W. (1968). Left-right asymmetry in temporal speech region. Science, 161, 186–187.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Good, C. D., Johnsrude, I., Ashburner, J., Henson, R. N. A., Friston, K. J., & Frackowiak, R. S. J. (2001). Cerebral asymmetry and the effects of sex and handedness on brain structure: A voxel-based morphometric analysis of 465 normal adult human brains. NeuroImage, 14, 685–700.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kinsbourne, M. (Ed.). (1978). Asymmetrical function of the brain. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Mendoza, J. E., & Foundas, A. L. (2008). Clinical neuroanatomy: A neurobehavioral approach. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  10. Ross, E. (2000). Affective prosody and the aprosodias. In M. Mesulam (Ed.), Principles of behavioral and cognitive neurology. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Walsh, K. (1994). Neuropsychology: A clinical approach. New York: Churchill Livingstone.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesTulane University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA