Neuroscience has now advanced beyond the early simplistic models of brain hemisphericity. Oversimplifying the issue of laterality, the early researchers placed entire facets of a brain’s function into one hemisphere or the other. Later researchers have found that the processes of a normal brain do not involve merely one hemisphere, rather we can say about a particular process that it is a process involving laterality of the left or the right hemisphere, or it is an process involving integrated functioning or complex interactions of both hemispheres of the brain (Levy, 1985).
Modern day researchers are more wary of assigning specific roles to different hemispheres of the brain. For example, instead of saying that the left hemisphere handles detail and the right hemisphere handles holistic function, modern researchers are more likely to say that the left hemisphere of the brain is more suitable for handling specific details while the right hemisphere of the brain is more suited for examination of things from a holistic perspective (Ornstein 1997). In the field of language and learning, the left hemisphere of the brain is more suited for handling sentence syntax and literal meaning, reading and mathematical in most people is better at handling syntax and meaning, a more literal translation, and in reading and mathematical processing. The right hemisphere is better at contextual perception for example, in interpreting art and recognizing faces. For nearly 90% of humans, reception and transmission of speech takes place mainly through the left hemisphere of the brain (i.e., Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas of the brain). In left handed people, who form 5-10% of a given human population, that figure is reduced somewhat, to around 60%.
Measuring the hemispheric laterality is contentious subject amongst research scientists. Researchers have come up with many different ways to measure the hemispheric laterality of a person’s brain. The simplest and most commonly administered test of a person’s hemispheric preference is, what is called the Preference Test (PT). Developed by Zenhausern in 1978, the PT is a series of questions, twenty in number whose answer is to be given on a scale of one to ten. Ten of the questions deal with stereotypical ‘right-hemisphere processes and ten with ‘left-hemisphere’ processes. The tests questions inquire about things that are difficult to objectively quantify, for example, here are some of the questions from Zenhausen’s Preference Test:
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