Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Hemispheric Specialization

  • John E. MendozaEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_693


Hemispheric asymmetry (anatomical)


The concept refers to the fact that each cerebral hemisphere has unique functional characteristics and mediates different aspects of behavior. While hemispheric specialization (HS) certainly includes the phenomena of contralateral motor and sensory representation, the concept most often arises in the context of higher cognitive or perceptual rather than more elementary sensorimotor functions.

Current Knowledge

Awareness of HS was not firmly established in the scientific community until the middle of the nineteenth century when clinical case studies revealed that damage limited to one cerebral hemisphere resulted in behavioral deficits that were qualitatively different from those following lesions of the other hemisphere. In the middle of the twentieth century, hemispheric asymmetries began to be identified which suggested links between these anatomical and behavioral differences. Among the more prominent differences are the...

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References and Readings

  1. Hannay, H. (Ed.). (1986). Experimental techniques in human neuropsychology. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Kinsbourne, M. (Ed.). (1978). Asymmetrical function of the brain. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Mendoza, J. E., & Foundas, A. L. (2008). Clinical neuroanatomy: A neurobehavioral approach (pp. 334–368). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  4. Mesulam, M.-M. (1990). Large-scale neurocognitive networks and distributed processing for attention, language and memory. Annals of Neurology, 28, 597–613.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and NeuroscienceTulane Medical School and SE Louisiana Veterans Healthcare SystemNew OrleansUSA