The Specialized Abilities of the Right and Left Hemisphere

The Specialized Abilities of the Right and Left Hemisphere

The human brain has been an important topic for scientists due to the brain’s importance in the survival and evolution of man. Research into the brain has revealed that the human brain is divided into two parts, like all mammalian brains. These parts are known as the left and right hemispheres. Further research has proved that location in the brain matters, as different areas of the brain, are responsible for different functions (Shmerling). This remains true for the left and right hemispheres, as they specialize in different functions. This essay aims to identify specialized functions for each hemisphere and provide examples.

First, we begin with the motor functions of the brain. The different hemispheres are largely known for controlling different haves of the body (Lombrozo). The brain’s right hemisphere controls the left side of the body, while the left hemisphere controls the right side. An example is when something is shown to the left eye; this information is registered in the right side of the brain and vice versa. In Gazzaniga’s research, when Joe is shown a picture on his left side, he can draw it with his left hand while simultaneously he draws another item with the right hand shown to the right eye (Gazzaniga and Blackstone). Another example is when Cameron had the left side of her brain removed, the right side of her body became completely paralyzed (I Choose People).

Next is the right hemisphere’s ability to identify faces. According to Gazzaniga, the right hemisphere is largely specialized to recognize faces, particularly upright faces, something the left side cannot do. An example is when Joe is shown a painting by Arcimboldo, who drew faces with fruits. When a picture is shown to Joe’s right hemisphere, he can see a face, while when the same picture is shown to the left side, he sees fruits (Gazzaniga and Blackstone).

Another distinction between the hemispheres is the left hemisphere’s specialized ability to control speech. The left side is largely suspected to be the human brain’s main controller of language and speed, with the right having limited abilities. When Joe is shown a word in his right hemisphere, he cannot identify it out loud, but he can draw the item in question on paper with his left hand. Only upon seeing it with his left hemisphere can Joe say the word. However, when the word is shown to his right eye, controlled by the left hemisphere, Joe can pronounce it immediately (Gazzaniga and Blackstone).

In his research, Gazzaniga discovers that the human desire to understand cause and effect largely resides in the left hemisphere. This is done by showing two words, each to a different eye. He is then asked to identify what he has seen from images. Interestingly Joe chooses what his right hemisphere saw, and when asked why he answers it based on what his left hemisphere had seen. Joe is shown a bell and music to the right and left hemispheres. When asked to choose, he chooses an image of a bell and rationalizes it as music, having heard bell music earlier (Gazzaniga and Blackstone). Thus it is concluded that the need for the human brain to interpret the occurrence of two events resides largely in the left hemisphere.

The left and right hemispheres are each responsible for different vital parts of the functionality, with this specialization largely aimed at an efficiency (Lombrozo). This is seen in the right hemisphere controlling the left side of the body and specializing in recognizing faces. On the other hand, the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and is largely responsible for speech and the interpretation of cause and effect.

Works Cited

Gazzaniga, Michael, and Michael Blackstone. Basic Split Brain Science Primer – Alan Alda With Michael Gazzaniga. 1966, Accessed 6 Oct 2022.

I Choose People. Girl Survives With Only Half Her Brain! Accessed 6 Oct 2022.

Lombrozo, Tania. “The Truth About The Left Brain / Right Brain Relationship.” NPR.Org, 2013,

Shmerling, Robert H. “Right Brain/Left Brain, Right? – Harvard Health”. Harvard Health, 2022,




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