The Evolution of Human Cerebral Asymmetry

  • Jerre Levy
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 17)


Although considerably less extensive and obvious than functional cerebral asymmetries in the human brain (see Bradshaw & Nettleton, 1983), recent research has demonstrated beyond question that the two cerebral hemispheres are laterally specialized in species as widely separated as passerine birds, rodents, and monkeys (see Glick, 1985, for reviews). The presence of cerebral asymmetry in such diverse groups can be explained by a parallel evolution in response to common selective pressures for an efficient use of neural space, in which different neural programs that serve different functions are organized in opposite sides of the brain. A neural organization that is optimally designed to serve one set of functions cannot normally be optimally designed to serve a different set of functions, and lateral differentiation allows the development of two different operational programs that serve different and equally important processes.


Left Hemisphere Cerebral Asymmetry Pygmy Chimpanzee Common Chimpanzee Phonetic Representation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerre Levy
    • 1
  1. 1.Committee on BiopsychologyUniversity of ChicagoUSA

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