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Left Brain Dominance in Right-Handed People

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Left-Brain Dominance in Right-Handed People

Certain human cognitive functions depend predominately on either the left or right hemisphere of the brain. This study attempted to investigate the role of left and right hemispheres in regard to language. A 19 year old, right-handed male was asked to talk while tapping a pencil, first with the right hand and then the left hand. The results of the study showed more right hand interference during talking, indicating more left hemisphere involvement.


Left-Brain Dominance in Right-Handed People
Language can be defined as any system of formalized symbols, signs, sounds, gestures, or the like used or conceived as a means of communicating (American Psychological Assoc., 2012). The left hemisphere exerts greater control over speech and language abilities in almost all right-handed and the greater part of left-handed people. In contrast, the right hemisphere is more involved in nonverbal emotional expression and visual-spatial tasks. Furthermore, the right side of the body is controlled by the left-brain while the left side of the body is controlled by the right brain. A thick band of nerves called the corpus callosum is the connection between the two hemispheres (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2012). Methods such as functional brain imaging using PET scans, for instance, are beneficial for recording brain activity while a participant is performing a particular task.
To gain insight of the brain’s function of each hemisphere, the following study was conducted. As a control, the participant was asked to tap a pencil on a fresh sheet of paper using the right hand, and then the left hand while remaining silent for the duration of one minute. The second part of the study was a dual-task that required the participant to tap a pencil on a fresh sheet of paper using the right hand, and then the left hand while talking, for the duration of one minute. The number of taps was recorded when the participant was silent and was then compared to the number of taps when the participant was talking, as well as the number of taps produced by the right and left hand. A large difference between the numbers of taps by the right hand compared to the left hand, would indicate that an interference had taken place and explain

LEFT-BRAIN DOMINANCE IN RIGHT-HANDED PEOPLE 4 which hemisphere was involved during the cognitive activity. Greater right hand than left hand interference implies more left hemisphere involvement. In contrast, greater left hand interference implies more right hemisphere involvement.


In this study, the dual-task was used to look at the role of right and left hemispheres of the brain in language. The participant was a 19-year old male. The study was conducted at the participant’s home. A copy of the researcher’s ethics was given to the subject for his information, and permission to conduct the study was given. With permission from the subject, a second participant was present for the purposes of conversing with the subject.

Materials and Procedures
Handedness was determined by which hand the subject automatically used to write. The participant was asked to exhibit four pencil-tapping tasks: 1) tap the pencil with their right hand on a fresh sheet of paper while remaining silent for the duration of one minute; 2) tap the pencil with their left hand on a fresh sheet of paper while remaining silent for the duration of one minute; 3) tap the pencil with their right hand on a fresh sheet of paper while talking for the duration of one minute; 4) tap the pencil with their left hand on a fresh sheet of paper while talking for the duration of one minute. The subject was instructed to begin tapping the pencil when a beep was heard from the stopwatch, and to continue until a second beep was heard. The right hand versus the left hand was alternated throughout the experiment. Another person carried a conversation with the participant while the researcher counted the number of taps during the given minute.


It was observed that the participant tapped the pencil with his right hand 144 times over one minute. Secondly, the participant tapped the pencil 136 times with the left hand after being timed for one minute. It was then observed that the participant tapped the pencil with his right hand, while talking, 99 times during the one minute given. Lastly, the participant tapped the pencil with the left hand, while talking, 119 times during the one minute given.
The difference between the first right-hand task and the second right hand dual-task was 45 taps. The difference between the first left-hand task and the second left hand dual-task was 17 taps. The results indicated that there was a greater difference between the numbers of taps by the right hand when compared to the left hand, therefore implying greater left-hemisphere involvement.

In conclusion, we need both hemispheres of the brain to achieve our greatest potential. “The fictional doctor Gregory House call the corpus callosum that joins the hemispheres the “George Washington Bridge” of the brain, and in most of what we do, the hemispheres have evolved to operate together, sharing information across this bridge” (Jarrett, 2012). The brain is one of the most important parts of the nervous system as wel as one of the most complex. Therefore, continued scientific research will need to be done for greater understanding of this multifaceted organ.


American Psychological Association (APA): language. (n.d.).
Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved September 07, 2012, from website:
Hockenbury, Don H. & Sandra E. (2012). Psychology: Sixth Edition.
New York, NY. Worth Publishers.

Jarrett, Christian, Ph.D. (2012). Why the Left-Brain Right-Brain Myth Will Probably Never Die.
Psychology Today: Brain Myths, Stories We Tell About The Brain and the Mind. Retrieved September 06, 2012 from Psychology website:

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