Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

pp 1157-1158

Global Versus Local Processing

  • Maryellen RomeroAffiliated withAssistant Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Neurology Tulane University Health Sciences Center


Distinction between levels of information processing focusing preferentially on either details of specific information (local) versus the whole (global).

Current Knowledge

The “global versus local” processing dichotomy centers around the view that the brain’s handling of perceptual information differs depending on which hemisphere is predominantly engaged. The left hemisphere is thought to be more adept at processing details (“local”), while the right is superior in grasping the whole (“global”). The accompanying figure is representative of one type of stimulus used to study this phenomenon (Fig. 1). Research with brain-injured populations has tended to show differences in performance depending on the localization of the lesion, patients with left-sided lesions being faster in identifying the “H” (global processing of the intact right hemisphere), and those with right hemisphere lesions demonstrating a greater facility in identifying the “S” (local pr ...

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