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Cerebral dominance and the neuropsychology of language.docx

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Ted Petit

Cerebral dominance and the neuropsychology of language Monday, November 19, 2012 1:13 PM  How the lobes function  Observations during periods of war - large population with bullet wounds to the head  Noticed the hemisphere the bullet was in caused the patient to respond differently  People over the age of 20  Left Hemisphere damage:  100% of patients show some aphasic symptoms - problems in speech/language  Mild, moderate, severe aphasia (not complete lack thereof )  ~30% showed recovery - left handed or ambidextrous individuals  Least amount of recovery was in right handed individuals  These results were the first indication of specialization in language that seemed to be related to handedness  Made it clear that since the right handed people had the most problem in left hemisphere damage - language seemed to predominantly be in the left hemisphere  Ambidextrous - language is on both hemispheres  OPPRESSION OF THE LEFT HANDED PPL  Lesions to the Right Hemisphere  Most patients showed few aphasic symptoms  Rarely leads to complete aphasia  Those who did show aphasic symptoms were left handed or ambidextrous  Right handed persons do not show these symptoms  (left handed and ambidextrous fall in the same group)  If you're right handed, your language is on the left  If you're left handed, you lose language from either side (but not really that severe)  Recovery: left handed people show very good recovery. Suggesting then that left handed people have language on both sides  Children:  Less than the age of 5  In children under the age of 5, damage to either hemisphere has an equal probability of producing aphasic symptoms  Therefore, some language on both sides in little children during development  100% of children under 5 who suffer brain damage show recovery - they are like left handed people  The developing brain is not yet fully lateralized yet  Over time, as you move from a 2-3 year old up to a 10 year old - brain more lateralized over time  Lateralization occurs primarily in right handed individuals  Because there is less lateralization and more plasticity, if you remove half the brain, the child can still recover  There are people who are acallosal - born without a corpus callosum  Adults - have language on both sides of the brain no matter what the handedness  Children who have had early extensive brain damage - doesn’t matter which hemisphere  Language is almost always on the other side of the brain  The left hemisphere is better at language - actively suppresses the right hemisphere as the child matures (IN RIGHT HANDED INDIVIDUALS)  Suggests that the left hemisphere is better at language  Doesn't happen when person is acallosal  Some say that left handed people have a small amount of brain damage during development  What makes the left hemisphere superior for language  Planum Temporale - primary language area in the temporal lobe  In the left hemisphere the planum temporale is larger and more convuluted and heavier than the exact same area in the right hemisphere  Suggests why it is superior  Is it use or is it genetic?  It is also true in other great apes  Also true in other animals that use vocalization as a form of communication e.g. birds  Vocal communication appears to be a very primitive genetic phenomenon that has been preserved for a long time through evolution  Genetic component  Newborns and left handed individuals - the planum temporale is still larger - genetic component that builds the left temporal lobe larger in humans  Even before infants are born - 10th and 31st week of gestation - already show size differences 
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