Lateralization of Emotional and Cognitive Function in Higher Vertebrates, with Special Reference to the Domestic Chick

  • Richard J. Andrew
Part of the NATO Advanced Science Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 56)


Evidence of differences of function between the right and left sides of the brain is now available for a number of groups of mammals (rodents, lagomorphs, primates) and birds (passerines, gallinaceous birds, parrots). In some cases there are suggestive resemblances to the human condition which imply either convergent evolution of lateralization in response to similar selection pressures or its retention from common ancestors. Throughout this article, “lateralization” is used of differences between right and left sides of the brain which hold for a species — or, where stated, a population. Andrew et al. (1982) have even argued that lateralization of function may be as ancient as the earliest chordates. In either case it is important to establish how far the different examples of species lateralization do show similar features. Since there is incomparably more data for left-right differences in man than in any other species, comparison with man is reasonable as well as irresistible. In order to do this, it is necessary not only to summarize a large literature but to chose amongst interpretations which are sometimes conflicting.


Left Hemisphere Spatial Ability Fear Response Young Chick Motor Asymmetry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Andrew, R.J., 1966, Precocious adult behaviour in the young chick. Anim. Behav., 14:485–500.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrew, R.J., 1980, The functional organization of phases of memory consolidation. Adv. Study Behavior, 11:337–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrew, R.J., Clifton, P.G., and Gibbs, M.E., 1981, Enhancement of effectiveness of learning by testosterone in domestic chicks. J. Comp. Physiol. Psychol., 95:406–417.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andrew, R.J., Mench, J., and Rainey, C., 1982, Right-left asymmetry of response to visual stimuli in the domestic chick, in “Analysis of Visual Behavior”, D.J. Ingle, M.A. Goodale and R.J.W. Mansfield, eds., MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  5. Annett, M., 1970, A classification of hand preference by association analysis. Brit. J. Psychol., 61:303–321.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bateson, P.P.G., and Chantrey, D.F., 1971, Retardation of discrimination learning in monkeys and chicks previously exposed to both stimuli. Nature (London), 237:173–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bell, G.A., and Gibbs, M.E., 1977, Unilateral storage of monocular engram in day-old chick. Brain Res., 124:263–270.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Benbow, C.P., and Stanley, J.C., 1980, Sex differences in mathematical ability: Fact or artifact? Science, 210:1262–1264.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bertelson, P., Vanhaelen, H., and Morais, J., 1979, Left hemifield superiority and the extraction of physiognomic information, in “Structure and Function of Cerebral Commissures”, I. Steele-Russell, M.W. Van Hof and G. Berlucchi, eds., Macmillan, London.Google Scholar
  10. Bever, T.G., and Chiarello, R.J., 1974, Cerebral dominance in musicians and non-musicians. Science, 185:537–539.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bock, R.D., 1973, Word and image: Sources of the verbal and spatial factors in mental test scores. Psychometrica, 38:437–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bowmaker, J.K., and Knowles, A., 1977, The visual pigments and oil droplets of the chicken retina. Vision Res., 17:755–764.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Broverman, D.M., Broverman, I. K., Vogel, W., Palmer, R.D., and Klaiber, E.L., 1964, The automatization cognitive style and physical development. Child Development, 35:1343–1359.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Carey, S., and Diamond, R., 1977, From piecemeal to configurational representation of faces. Science, 195:312–314.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cannon, A., 1978, Spatial and temporal factors in visual perception of patients with unilateral cerebral lesions, in “Asymmetrical Function of the Brain”, M. Kinsbourne, ed., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  16. Cohen, D.H., and Karten, H.J., 1974, The structural organization of the avian brain: An overview, in “Birds, Brain and Behaviour”, I.J. Goodman and M.W. Schein, eds., Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  17. Collins, R.L., 1977, Toward an admissable genetic model for the inheritance of the degree and direction of asymmetry, in “Lateralization in the Nervous System”, S. Harnad, R.W. Doty, L. Goldstein, J. Jaynes and G. Krauthamer, eds., Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  18. Cowan, W.M., Adamson, L., and Powell, T.P.S., 1961, An experimental study of the avian visual system. J. Anat. (Lond.), 95:545–563.Google Scholar
  19. Davidson, R.J., 1978, Lateral specialization in the human brain: Speculation concerning its origins and development. The Behav. Brain Sci., 1:291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dawson, J.L.M.B., 1977, An anthropological perspective on the evolution and lateralization of the brain. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 299:424–447.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Denenberg, V.H., 1981, Hemispheric laterality in animals and the effects of early experience. The Behav. Brain Sci., 4:1–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Denenberg, V.H., Hofmann, M., Garbanati, J.A., Sherman, G.F., Rosen, G.D., and Yutzey, D.A., 1980, Handling in infancy, taste aversion, and brain laterality in rats. Brain Res., 200:123–133.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dewson, J.H., 1977, Preliminary evidence of hemispheric asymmetry of auditory function in monkeys, in “Lateralization in the Nervous System”, S. Harnad, R.W. Doty, L. Goldstein, J. Jaynes and G. Krauthamer, eds., Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  24. Diamond, M.C., 1980, New data supporting cortical asymmetry differences in males and females. The Behav. Brain Sci., 3:233–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Diamond, M.C., Johnson, R.E., and Ingham, C.A., 1975, Morphological changes in the young, adult and aging rat cerebral cortex, hippocampus and diencephalon. Behav. Biol., 14:163–174.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Dimond, S.J., Farrington, L., and Johnson, P., 1976, Differing emotional response from right and left hemispheres. Nature, 261:690–692.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Flor-Henry, P., 1979, Laterality, shifts of cerebral dominance, sinistrality and psychosis, in “Hemisphere Asymmetries of Function in Psychopathology”, P. Flor-Henry, ed., Elsevier, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  28. Gainotti, G., 1979, The relationship between emotions and cerebral dominance: A review of clinical and experimental evidence, in “Hemisphere Asymmetries of Function in Psychopathology”, P. Flor-Henry, ed., Elsevier, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  29. Galaburda, A.M., LeMay, M., Kemperer, T.L., and Geschwind, N., 1978, Right-left asymmetries in the brain. Science, 199:852–856.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Galin, D., 1977, Lateral specialization and psychiatric issues: Speculations on development and the evolution of consciousness. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 299:397–411.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Galin, D., Johnstone, J., Nakell, L., and Herron, J., 1979, Development of the capacity for tactile information transfer between hemispheres in normal children. Science, 204:1330–1332.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gazzaniga, M.S., 1970, “The Bisected Brain”, Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York.Google Scholar
  33. Gibbs, M.E., Richdale, A.L., and Ng, K.T., 1979, Biochemical aspects of protein synthesis inhibition by cycloheximide in one or both hemispheres of the chick brain. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav., 10:929–931.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Glick, S.D., and Cox, R.D., 1978, Nocturnal rotation in normal rats: Correlation with amphetamine-induced rotation and effects of nigrostriatal lesions. Brain Res., 150:149–161.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Glick, S.D., and Ross, D.A., 1981a, Lateralization of function in the rat brain. TINS, 4:196–199.Google Scholar
  36. Glick, S.D., and Ross, D.A., 1981b, Right-sided population bias and lateralization of activity in normal rats. Brain Res., 205:222–225.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Glick, S.D., Jerussi, T.P., and Zimmerberg, B., 1977a, Behavioral and neuropharmacological correlates of nigrostriatal asymmetry in rats, in “Lateralization in the Nervous System”, S. Harnad, R.W. Doty, L. Goldstein, J. Jaynes and G. Krauthamer, eds., Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  38. Glick, S.D., Zimmerberg, B., and Jerussi, T.P., 1977b, Adaptive significance of laterality in the rodent. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 299:180–185.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Gur, R., and Gur, R., 1977, Correlates of conjugate lateral eye movements in man, in “Lateralization in the Nervous System, S. Harnad, R.W. Doty, L. Goldstein, J. Janes and G. Krauthamer, Eds., Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  40. Hamilton, C.R., 1971, Investigations of perceptual and mnemonic lateralization in monkeys, in “Lateralization in the Nervous System”, S. Harnad, R.W. Doty, L. Goldstein, J. Jaynes and G. Krauthamer, eds., Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  41. Harper, L.V., and Saunders, K.M., 1978, Sex differences in preschool children’s social interactions and use of space: An evolutionary perspective, in “Sex and Behavior”, T.E. McGill, D.A. Dewsbury and B.D. Sachs, eds, Plenum Press, New York, London.Google Scholar
  42. Harris, L.J., 1978, Sex difference in spatial ability: Possible environmental, genetic and neurological factors, in “Asymmetrical Function of the Brain”, M. Kinsbourne, ed., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  43. Hogan, J.A., 1966, An experimental study of conflict and fear: An analysis of behaviour of young chicks towards a mealworm II: The behaviour of young chicks which eat the mealworm. Behaviour, 27:273–289.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Inglis, I., and Lawson, J.S., 1981, Sex differences in the effects of unilateral brain damage on intelligence. Science, 212:693–695.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kinsbourne, M., 1975, The mechanism of hemispheric control of the lateal gradient of attention, in “Attention and Performance V”, P.M.A. Rabbitt and S. Dornic, eds., Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  46. LeMay, M., and Geschwind, N., 1975, Hemispheric differences in the brains of great apes. Brain Behav. Evol., 11:48–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Levy, J., 1969, Possible basis for the evolution of lateral specialization of the human brain. Nature, 224:614–615.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Levy, J., and Reid, M., 1976, Variations in writing posture and cerebral organization. Science, 194:337–339.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lovejoy, C.O., 1981, The origin of man. Science, 211:341–350.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. McBride, G., Parer, I.P., and Foenander, F., 1969, The social proganization and behaviour of the feral domestic fowl. Anim. Behav. Monogr., 2:127–181.Google Scholar
  51. McGee, M.G., 1979, “Human Spatial Abilities: Sources of Sex Differences”, Praeger Publishers, New York.Google Scholar
  52. McGlone, J., 1980, Sex differences in human brain asymmetry. The Behav. Brain Sci., 3:215–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Mark, R.F., and Watts, M.E., 1971, Drug inhibition of memory formation in chickens I: Long-term memory. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B., 178:439–454.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Masica, D.N., Money, J., Ehrhardt, A.A., and Lewis, V.G., 1969, IQ, fetal sex hormones and cognitive patterns: studies in the testicular feminizing syndrome of androgen insensitivity. John Hopkins fled. J., 124:34:43.Google Scholar
  55. Messent, P.R., 1973, “Distractibility and Persistence in Chicks”, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Sussex, Brighton, U.K.Google Scholar
  56. Michel, G.F., 1981, Righthandedness: A consequence of infant supine headorientation preference? Science, 212:685–686.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Milner, B., 1975, Psychological aspects of focal epilepsy and its neurosurgical management. Adv. Neurol., 8:299–321.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Moscovitch, M., and Smith, L.C., 1979, Differences in neural organization between individuals with inverted and non-inverted handwriting postures. Science, 205:710–712.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Nebes, R.D., 1978, Direct examination of cognitive function in the right and left hemispheres, in “Asymmetrical Function of the Brain”, M. Kinsbourne, ed., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  60. Netley, C., 1977, Dichotic listening of callosal agnesis and Turner’s syndrome patients, in “Language Development and Neurological Theory”, S.J. Segalowitz and F.A. Gruber, eds., Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  61. Nottebohm, F., 1971, Neural lateralization of vocal control in a passerine bird I: Song. J. exp. Zool., 177:229–261.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Nottebohm, F., 1972, Neural lateralization of vocal control in a passerine bird II: Sub-song, calls and a theory of vocal learning. J. exp. Zool., 179:35–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Nottebohm, F., and Nottebohm, M.E., 1976, Left hypoglossal dominance in the control of canary and white-crowned sparrow song. J. Comp. Physiol., 108:171–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Nottebohm, F., Stokes, T.M., and Leonard, C.M., 1976, Central control of song in the canary Serinus canarius. J. Comp. Neurol., 165: 457–486.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Nottebohm, F., Manning, E., and Nottebohm, M.E., 1979, Reversal of hypoglossal dominance in canaries following unilateral syringeal denervation. J. Comp. Physiol., 134:227–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Petersen, M.R., Beecher, M.D., Zoloth, S.R., Moody, D.B., and Stebbin W.C., 1978, Neural lateralization of species-specific vocalizations by Japanese Macaques (Macaca fuscata). Science, 202:324–327.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Robinson, R.G., 1979, Differential behavioral and biochemical effects of right and left hemispheric cerebral infarction in the rat. Science, 205:707–710.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Robinson, T.E., and Becker, J.B., 1981, Variation in lateralization: Selected samples do not a population make. The Behav. Brain Sci., 4:34–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Rogers, L.J., 1980, Lateralisation in the avian brain. Bird Behav., 2:1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Rogers, L.J., and Anson, J.M., 1979, Lateralisation of function in the chicken fore-brain. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav., 10:679–686.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Rogers, L.J., and Drennen, H, D., 1978, Cycloheximide interacts with visual input to produce permanent slowing of visual learning in chickens. Brain Res., 158:479–482.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Ross, D.A., and Glick, S.D., 1981, Lateralized effects of bilateral frontal cortex lesions in rats. Brain Res., 210:379–382.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Ross, D.A., Glick, S.D., and Meibach, R.C., 1981, Sexually dimorphic brain and behavioural asymmetries in the neonatal rat. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 78:1958–1961.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Sackeim, H.A., Gur, R.C., and Saucy, M.C., 1978, Emotions are expressed more intensely on the left side of the face. Science, 202:434–436.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Sherman, S.M., 1974, Visual fields of cats with cortical and tectal lesions. Science, 185:355–357.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Sprague, J.M., and Meikle, T.H., 1965, The role of the superior colliculus in visually guided behavior. Exp. Neurol., 11:115–146.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Turkewitz, G., 1977, The development of lateral differentiation in the human infant. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 299:309–318.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Waber, D.P., 1976, Sex differences in cognition: A function of maturatoon rate? Science, 192:572–574.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Webster, W.G., 1977, Territoriality and the evolution of brain asymmetry. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 299:213–221.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Weinstein, S., 1978, Functional cerebral hemispheric asymmetry, in “Asymmetrical Function of the Brain”, M. Kinsbourne, ed., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  81. Wilson, J.R., and Vandenberg, S.G., 1978, Sex differences in cognition: Evidence from the Hawaii family study, in “Sex and Behavior”, T.E. McGill, D.A. Dewsbury and B.D. Sachs, eds., Plenum Press, New York, London.Google Scholar
  82. Witelson, S.F., 1976, Sex and the single hemisphere: Specialization of the right hemisphere for spatial processing. Science, 193:425–427.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Witelson, S.F., 1977, Early hemisphere specialization and interhemisphere plasticity: An empirical and theoretical review, in “Language Development and Neurological Theory”, S.J. Segalowitz and F.A. Gruber, eds., Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  84. Wolff, P.H., 1977, The development of manual asymmetries in motor sequencing tasks. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 299:319–328.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Yeni-Komshian, G.H., and Benson, D.A., 1976, Anatomical study of cerebral asymmetry in the temporal lobe of humans, chimpanzees and Rhesus monkeys. Science, 192:387–389.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Zaidel, D., and Sperry, R.W., 1973, Performance on the Raven’s Coloured Progressive Matrices by subjects with cerebral commissurotomy. Cortex, 9:34–39.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. Andrew
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of SussexFalmer, Brighton, SussexUK

Personalised recommendations