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Introduction to Psychology Culture and Identity Prof. Jan Lauwereyns [email protected] What about language on the left? • Lateralization of Brain Function • Two hemispheres are not mirror images of each other – left hemisphere controls right side of body – right controls left side – taste and smell input to same side • Lateralization is the specialization of labor between the two hemispheres – left hemisphere specialized for language – right specialized for complex visual-spatial tasks and synthetic processing • Left brain, right brain • Why should there be such functional segregation? – Advantages of specialisation? – Of parallel processing? • Do monkeys have it too? • Or does it originate with language? • Handedness and Language Dominance • Right handedness a heritage – 10% of people are left-handed or ambidextrous – 90% of prehistoric drawings show tools in right hand – most chimps and other primates are right handed • Left handers – have equal as well as left or right hemisphere dominance for speech • if right is dominant, left hemisphere contributes more to spatial perception – Corpus Callosum is thicker for greater communication Not quite as famous as Sir Edmund Hillary, but… Where does Corballis get his idea? • Corticol control of manual movements • Primates acquiring sign language • The mirror system in monkeys • Left hemisphere for speech and hands • Deaf use sign languages with full syntax • Nonverbal gestures during speech • FOXP2 gene mutated about 200,000 years ago FOXp2 Where does Corballis get his idea? • Corticol control of manual movements • Primates acquiring sign language • The mirror system in monkeys • Left hemisphere for speech and hands • Deaf use sign languages with full syntax • Nonverbal gestures during speech • FOXP2 gene mutated about 200,000 years ago The mirror system Ventral premotor area – monkey homologue of Area 44 in frontal cortex, that is, Broca’s Area Studied by Rizzolatti and co. The mirror system • Neurons in ventral premotor area • …activated both when the subject performs an action and when the subject observes someone else perform the same action • Abstract action representation • This system likely plays a role both in recognising and planning actions (“thinking about actions”) Mirror neurons and imitation? (But monkeys don’t imitate much) Importance of the mirror system? • Understanding action? • Origins of language? • Empathy? • Morality?