Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 96, Issue 9, pp 1099–1106 | Cite as

Side biases in humans (Homo sapiens): three ecological studies on hemispheric asymmetries

ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

Hemispheric asymmetries and side biases have been studied in humans mostly in laboratory settings, and evidence obtained in naturalistic settings is scarce. We here report the results of three studies on human ear preference observed during social interactions in noisy environments, i.e., discotheques. In the first study, a spontaneous right-ear preference was observed during linguistic exchange between interacting individuals. This lateral bias was confirmed in a quasi-experimental study in which a confederate experimenter evoked an ear-orienting response in bystanders, under the pretext of approaching them with a whispered request. In the last study, subjects showed a greater proneness to meet an experimenter’s request when it was directly addressed to the right rather than the left ear. Our findings are in agreement both with laboratory studies on hemispheric lateralization for language and approach/avoidance behavior in humans and with animal research. The present work is one of the few studies demonstrating the natural expression of hemispheric asymmetries, showing their effect in everyday human behavior.

Keywords

Side bias Ear preference Behavioral lateralization Communication Hemispheric asymmetries Approach/avoidance behavior Homo sapiens 

References

  1. Bamiou DE, Sisodiyac S, Musiekd FE, Luxona LM (2007) The role of the interhemispheric pathway in hearing. Brain Res Rev 56:170–182PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bassel C, Schiff BB (2001) Unilateral vibrotactile stimulation induces emotional biases in cognition and performance. Neuropsychologia 39:282–287PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bisazza A, Facchin L, Pignatti R, Vallortigara G (1998) Lateralization of detour behaviour in poeciliid fish: the effect of species, gender and sexual motivation. Behav Brain Res 91:157–164PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Borod JC, Koff E, Caron HS (1983) Right hemispheric specialization for the expression and appreciation of emotion: a focus on the face. In: Perecman E (ed) Cognitive function in the right hemisphere. Academic, New York, pp 83–110Google Scholar
  5. Böye M, Güntürkün O, Vauclair J (2005) Right ear advantage for conspecific calls in adults and subadults, but not infants, California sea lions (Zalophus californianus): hemispheric specialization for communication? Eur J NeuroSci 21:1727–1732PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brancucci A, Lucci G, Mazzatenta A, Tommasi L (2009) Asymmetries of the human social brain in the visual, auditory and chemical modalities. Philos T Roy Soc B 364:895–914Google Scholar
  7. Bryden MP (1988) An overview of the dichotic listening procedure and its relation to cerebral organization. In: Hugdahl K (ed) Handbook of dichotic listening: theory, methods, and research. Wiley, Chichester, pp 1–44Google Scholar
  8. Casasanto D (2009) Embodiment of abstract concepts: good and bad in right- and left-handers. J Exp Psychol Gen. doi:10.1037/a0015854
  9. Casperd JM, Dunbar RIM (1996) Asymmetries in the visual processing of emotional cues during agonistic interactions by gelada baboons. Behav Process 37:57–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Coren S, Porac C (1978) The validity and reliability of self-report inventory to assess four types of lateral preference. Brit J Psychol 69:207–211Google Scholar
  11. Coren S, Porac C, Duncan P (1981) Lateral preference behaviors in preschool children and young adults. Child Dev 52:443–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Damerose E, Vauclair J (2002) Posture and laterality in human and non-human primates: asymmetries in maternal handling and the infant’s early motor asymmetries. In: Rogers LJ, Andrew RJ (eds) Comparative vertebrate lateralization. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 306–362Google Scholar
  13. Davidson RJ (2004) What does the prefrontal cortex “do” in affect: perspectives on frontal EEG asymmetry research. Biol Psychol 67:219–233PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Davidson RJ, Ekman P, Saron CD, Senulis JA, Friesen WV (1990) Approach-withdrawal and cerebral asymmetry: emotional expression and brain physiology I. J Pers Soc Psychol 58:330–341PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Deckel AW (1995) Laterality of aggressive responses in Anolis. J Exp Zool 272:194–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Drake RA (1991) Processing persuasive arguments: recall and recognition as a function of agreement and manipulated activation asymmetry. Brain Cognition 15:83–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ecklund-Flores L, Turkewitz G (1996) Asymmetric headturning to speech and nonspeech in human newborns. Dev Psychobiol 29:205–217PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ehret G (1987) Left hemisphere advantage in the mouse brain for recognizing ultrasonic communication calls. Nature 325:249–251PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Emmerich DS, Harris J, Brown WS, Springer SP (1988) The relationship between auditory sensitivity and ear asymmetry on a dichotic listening task. Neuropsychologia 26:133–143PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ghirlanda S, Vallortigara G (2004) The evolution of brain lateralization: a game theoretical analysis of population structure. Proc Roy Soc B 271:853–857CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ghirlanda S, Frasnelli E, Vallortigara G (2009) Intraspecific competition and coordination in the evolution of lateralization. Philos T Roy Soc B 364:861–866Google Scholar
  22. Guéguen N (2007) Bust size and hitchhiking: a field study. Percept Motor Skill 105:1294–1298Google Scholar
  23. Güntürkün O (2003) Adult persistence of head-turning asymmetry. Nature 421:711PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hauser MD, Anderson K (1994) Left hemisphere dominance for processing vocalizations in adult, but not infant rhesus monkeys: field experiments. P Natl Acad Sci USA 91:3946–3948CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hebbal GV, Mysorekar VR (2003) Anatomical and behavioural asymmetries in right and left handers from India. Ann Anat 185:267–275PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hiscock M (1988) Behavioral asymmetries in normal children. In: Molfese D, Segalowitz S (eds) Brain lateralization in children. The Guilford, New York, pp 85–169Google Scholar
  27. Hugdahl K, Andersson L, Asbjørnsen A, Dalen K (1990) Dichotic listening, forced attention, and brain asymmetry in righthanded and lefthanded children. J Clin Exp Neuropsyc 12:539–548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ida Y, Mandal M (2003) Cultural difference in side bias: evidence from Japan and India. Laterality 8:121–133Google Scholar
  29. Jackson CJ (2008) When avoidance leads to approach: how ear preference interacts with neuroticism to predict disinhibited approach. Laterality 13:333–373PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Kimura D (1961) Cerebral dominance and the perception of verbal stimuli. Can J Psychol 15:166–171Google Scholar
  31. Kimura D (1967) Functional asymmetry of the brain in dichotic listening. Cortex 3:163–178Google Scholar
  32. Longoni AM, Orsini L (1988) Lateral preferences in preschool children: a research note. J Child Psychol Psyc 29:533–539CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mandal MK, Bulman-Fleming MB, Tiwari G (2000) Side bias: a neuropsychological perspective. Kluwer Academic, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  34. McKenzie R, Andrew RJ, Jones RB (1998) Lateralisation in chicks and hens: new evidence for control of response by the right eye system. Neuropsychologia 36:51–58PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Noonan M, Axelrod S (1981) Earedness (ear choice in monaural tasks): its measurement and relationship to other lateral preferences. J Aud Res 21:263–277PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Palleroni A, Hauser MD (2003) Experience-dependent plasticity for auditory processing in a raptor. Science 299:1195PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Petersen M, Beecher M, Zoloth S, Moody D, Stebbins W (1978) Neural lateralization of species-specific vocalisations by Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). Science 202:324–327PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Porac C, Coren S (1981) Lateral preferences and human behavior. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  39. Reiss M, Reiss G (1998) Some aspects of earedness—the validity and reliability of self-report items. Percept Motor Skill 86:259–263Google Scholar
  40. Robins A, Lippolis G, Bisazza A, Vallortigara G, Rogers LJ (1998) Lateralized agonistic responses and hindlimb use in toads. Anim Behav 56:875–881PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rogers LJ (1999) Evolution of side biases: motor versus sensory lateralization. In: Mandal MK, Bulman-Fleming MB, Tiwari G (eds) Side bias: a neuropsychological perspective. Kluwer Academic, Amsterdam, pp 3–40Google Scholar
  42. Rogers LJ, Andrew RJ (2002) Comparative vertebrate lateralization. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  43. Rogers LJ, Zappia JV, Bullock SP (1985) Testosterone and eye-brain asymmetry for copulation in chickens. Experientia 41:1447–1449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Schiff BB, Truchon C (1993) Effect of unilateral contraction of hand muscles on perceiver biases in the perception of chimeric and neutral faces. Neuropsychologia 31:1351–1365PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schiff BB, Lamon M (1989) Inducing emotion by unilateral contraction of facial muscles: a new look at hemispheric specialization and the experience of emotion. Neuropsychologia 21:923–935CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Schiff BB, Gagliese M (1994) The consequences of experimentally induced and chronic unilateral pain: reflections of hemispheric lateralization of emotion. Cortex 30:255–267PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Schiff BB, Lamon M (1994) Inducing emotion by unilateral contraction of hand muscles. Cortex 30:247–254PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Siniscalchi M, Quaranta A, Rogers LJ (2008) Hemispheric specialization in dogs for processing different acoustic stimuli. PLoS ONE 3:e3349. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003349 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Snow D (2000) The emotional basis of linguistic and nonlinguistic intonation: implications for hemispheric specialization. Dev Neuropsychol 17:1–28PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sobotka SS, Davidson RJ, Senulis JA (1992) Anterior brain electrical asymmetries in response to reward and punishment. Electroen Clin Neuro 83:236–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sovrano VA, Bisazza A, Vallortigara G (2001) Lateralization of response to social stimuli in fishes: a comparison between different methods and species. Physiol Behav 74:237–244PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sparks R, Geschwind N (1968) Dichotic listening in man after section of neocortical commissures. Cortex 4:3–16Google Scholar
  53. Springer S, Deutsch G (1990) Left brain, right brain. Freeman, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  54. Strauss E (1986) Hand, foot, eye and ear preferences and performance on a dichotic listening test. Cortex 22:475–482PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Surwillo WW (1981) Ear asymmetry in telephone-listening behavior. Cortex 17:625–632PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Sutton SK, Davidson RJ (1997) Prefrontal brain asymmetry: a biological substrate of the behavioral and inhibition systems. Psychol Sci 8:204–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Sutton SK, Davidson RJ (2000) Prefrontal brain electric asymmetry predicts the evaluation of affective stimuli. Neuropsychologia 38:1723–1733PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Tommasi L (2005) Evolutionary tango: perceptual asymmetries as a trick of sexual selection. Behav Brain Sci 28:614–615CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Tommasi L (2009) Introduction. Mechanisms and functions of brain and behavioural asymmetries. Philos T Roy Soc B 364:855–859Google Scholar
  60. Turnbull OH, Lucas MD (2000) “Tell me, where is [this] fancy bred?”: the cardiac and cerebral accounts of the lateral cradling bias. In: Mandal MK, Bulman-Fleming MB, Tiwari G (eds) Side bias: a neuropsychological perspective. Kluwer Academic, Amsterdam, pp 267–287Google Scholar
  61. Vallortigara G, Rogers LJ (2005) Survival with an asymmetrical brain: advantages and disadvantages of cerebral lateralization. Behav Brain Sci 28:575–589PubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Vallortigara G, Rogers LJ, Bisazza A, Lippolis G, Robins A (1998) Complementary right and left hemifield use for predatory and agonistic behaviour in toads. NeuroReport 9:3341–3344PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. van Baaren RB, Holland RW, Steenaert B, van Knippenberg A (2003) Mimicry for money: behavioral consequences of imitation. J Exp Soc Psychol 39:393–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Westerhausen R, Hugdahl K (2008) The corpus callosum in dichotic listening studies of hemispheric asymmetry: a review of clinical and experimental evidence. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 32:1044–1054PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Young AW, Ellis HD (1980) Ear asymmetry for the perception of monaurally presented words accompanied by binaural white noise. Neuropsychologia 18:107–110PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zucca P, Sovrano VA (2008) Animal lateralization and social recognition: quails use their left visual hemifield when approaching a companion and their right visual hemifield when approaching a stranger. Cortex 44:13–20PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedical SciencesUniversity “G. d’Annunzio”ChietiItaly

Personalised recommendations