Left Brain | Right Brain
Language functions such as grammar, vocabulary and literal meaning are typically lateralized to the left hemisphere, especially in right-handed individuals, hence Left Brain | Right Brain. While language production is left-lateralized in up to 90% of right-handers, it is more bilateral, or even right-lateralized, in approximately 50% of left-handers.
The lateralization of brain function is the tendency for some neural functions or cognitive processes to be specialized to one side of the brain or the other. The medial longitudinal fissure separates the human brain into two distinct cerebral hemispheres, connected by the corpus callosum. Although the macrostructure of the two hemispheres appears to be almost identical, different composition of neuronal networks allows for specialized function that is different in each hemisphere. Lateralization of brain structures is based on general trends expressed in healthy patients; however, there are numerous counterexamples to each generalization. Each human’s brain develops differently leading to unique lateralization in individuals. This is different from specialization as lateralization refers only to the function of one structure divided between two hemispheres. Specialization is much easier to observe as a trend since it has a stronger anthropological history.
The best example of an established lateralization is that of Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas where both are often found exclusively on the left hemisphere. These areas frequently correspond to handedness, however, meaning that the localization of these areas is regularly found on the hemisphere corresponding to the dominant hand (anatomically on the opposite side). Function lateralization, such as semantics, intonation, accentuation, and prosody, has since been called into question and largely been found to have a neuronal basis in both hemispheres. Another example is that each hemisphere in the brain tends to represent one side of the body. In the cerebellum this is the same bodyside, but in the forebrain this is predominantly the contralateral side.