Cerebral Lateralization and Cognitive Function

Mark C. Borgstrom, University of Nebraska at Omaha

A Thesis Presented to the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Abstract

Eighty-seven undergraduate students were given the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory, two dichotic listening tasks, and a paired-associate task to assess the relationship between visuo-spatial/verbal abilities and cerebral lateralization. It was hypothesized that well lateralized subjects, as measured by the handedness inventory and dichotic listening tasks, would score higher in the visual imagery condition of the paired-associate task than less well lateralized subjects, and would score about the same as the less well lateralized subjects on the verbal mediation condition. According to the Levy-Sperry hypothesis the less well lateralized subjects should have experienced difficulty using visual imagery mneumonics on the paired-associate task due to the interference from language processes in the left hemisphere. The results failed to support the Levy-Sperry hypothesis in that there were no significant differences between handedness or cerebral dominance groups. The differences between the hypotheses and results were attributed to defects in experimental procedure and several possible improvements in procedure were discussed.