Cerebral hemisphere


Cerebral hemisphere
Brain: Cerebral hemisphere
Hemispheres.png
The human brain as viewed from above, showing the cerebral hemis. The anterior aspect (front) of the brain is to the right.
Latin Hemisphaerium cerebri
Code TA A14.1.09.002

A cerebral hemisphere is one of the two regions of the eutherian brain that are delineated by the median plane, (medial longitudinal fissure). The brain can thus be described as being divided into left and right cerebral hemispheres. Each of these hemispheres has an outer layer of grey matter called the cerebral cortex that is supported by an inner layer of white matter. The hemispheres are linked by the corpus callosum, a very large bundle of nerve fibers, and also by other smaller commissures, including the anterior commissure, posterior commissure, and hippocampal commissure. These commissures transfer information between the two hemispheres to coordinate localized functions.

Macroscopically the hemispheres are roughly mirror images of each other, with only subtle differences (e.g. Yakovlevian torque). On a microscopic level, the architecture, types of cells, types of neurotransmitters and receptor subtypes are markedly asymmetrical between the two hemispheres.[citation needed] However, while some of these hemispheric distribution differences are consistent across human beings, or even across some species, many observable distribution differences vary from individual to individual within a given species.

Contents

Embryological development

The cerebral hemispheres are derived from the telencephalon. They arise five weeks after conception as bilateral invaginations of the walls. The hemispheres grow round in a C-shape and then back again, pulling all structures internal to the hemispheres (such as the ventricles) with them. The interventricular foramen (sometimes called the interventricular foramena of munro) allows communication with the lateral ventricle. The choroid plexus is formed from ependymal cells and vascular mesenchyme.

Hemisphere lateralization

Broad generalizations are often made in popular psychology about certain functions (e.g. logic, creativity) being lateralized, that is, located in the right or left side of the brain. These claims are often inaccurate, as most brain functions are actually distributed across both hemispheres. Most scientific evidence for asymmetry relates to low-level perceptual functions rather than the higher-level functions popularly discussed (e.g. subconscious processing of grammar, not "logical thinking" in general).[1][2]

The best evidence of lateralization for one specific ability is language. Both of the major areas involved in language skills, Broca's area and Wernicke's area, are in the left hemisphere.

Perceptual information is processed in both hemispheres, but is laterally partitioned: information from each side of the body is sent to the opposite hemisphere (visual information is partitioned Optic radiation, but still lateralized). Similarly, motor control signals sent out to the body also come from the hemisphere on the opposite side. Thus, Hand preference (which hand someone prefers to use) is also related to hemisphere lateralization.

Neuropsychologists (e.g. Roger Sperry, Michael Gazzaniga) have studied split-brain patients to better understand lateralization. Sperry pioneered the use of lateralized tachistoscopes to present visual information to one hemisphere or the other. Scientists have also studied people born without a corpus callosum to determine specialization of brain hemispheres.

The magnocellular pathway of the visual system sends more information to the right hemisphere, while the parvocellular pathway sends more information to the left hemisphere.

In some respects, the hemispheres are asymmetrical. There are higher levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine on the right and higher levels of dopamine on the left. There is more white matter (longer axons) on right and more grey matter (cell bodies) on the left.[3]

Linear reasoning functions of language such as grammar and word production are often lateralized to the left hemisphere of the brain. In contrast, holistic reasoning functions of language such as intonation and emphasis are often lateralized to the right hemisphere of the brain. Other integrative functions such as intuitive or heuristic arithmetic, binaural sound localization, emotions, etc. seem to be more bilaterally controlled.[4]

Left hemisphere functions Right hemisphere functions
numerical computation (exact calculation, numerical comparison, estimation)
left hemisphere only: direct fact retrieval[4][5]
numerical computation (approximate calculation, numerical comparison, estimation)[4][5]
language: grammar/vocabulary, literal[6] language: intonation/accentuation, prosody, pragmatic, contextual[6]

See also

References

  1. ^ Western et al. 2006 "Psychology: Australian and New Zealand edition" John Wiley p.107
  2. ^ "Neuromyth 6" http://www.oecd.org/document/63/0,3746,en_2649_35845581_34555007_1_1_1_1,00.html Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  3. ^ R. Carter, Mapping the Mind, Phoenix, London, 2004, Originally Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1998.
  4. ^ a b c Dehaene S, Spelke E, Pinel P, Stanescu R, Tsivkin S (1999). "Sources of mathematical thinking: behavioral and brain-imaging evidence". Science 284 (5416): 970–4. doi:10.1126/science.284.5416.970. PMID 10320379. 
  5. ^ a b Dehaene Stanislas, Piazza Manuela, Pinel Philippe, Cohen Laurent (2003). "Three parietal circuits for number processing". Cognitive Neuropsychology 20 (3): 487–506. doi:10.1080/02643290244000239. PMID 20957581. 
  6. ^ a b Taylor, Insup & Taylor, M. Martin (1990). Psycholinguistics: learning and using language. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice Hall. p. 367. ISBN 0-13-733817-1. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • cerebral hemisphere — n either of the two hollow convoluted lateral halves of the cerebrum * * * one of the two paired halves of the cerebrum. * * * hemispherium cerebri …   Medical dictionary

  • cerebral hemisphere — n. either of the two lateral halves of the cerebrum …   English World dictionary

  • cerebral hemisphere — noun either half of the cerebrum • Syn: ↑hemisphere • Derivationally related forms: ↑hemispheric (for: ↑hemisphere), ↑hemispherical (for: ↑hemisphere) …   Useful english dictionary

  • cerebral hemisphere — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms cerebral hemisphere : singular cerebral hemisphere plural cerebral hemispheres medical one of the two halves of the front part of your brain …   English dictionary

  • cerebral hemisphere — One half of the cerebrum, the part of the brain that controls muscle functions and also controls speech, thought, emotions, reading, writing, and learning. The right hemisphere controls the muscles on the left side of the body, and the left… …   English dictionary of cancer terms

  • cerebral hemisphere — noun Date: 1816 either of the two hollow convoluted lateral halves of the cerebrum see brain illustration …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cerebral hemisphere — either of the rounded halves of the cerebrum of the brain, divided laterally by a deep fissure and connected at the bottom by the corpus callosum. Cf. left brain, right brain. [1810 20] * * * …   Universalium

  • cerebral hemisphere — noun One of the two regions of the brain that are delineated by the bodys median plane …   Wiktionary

  • cerebral hemisphere — half of the brain, one side of the brain …   English contemporary dictionary

  • cerebral hemisphere — one of the two paired halves of the cerebrum …   The new mediacal dictionary


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