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A unified view of lateralized vision

PhD ceremony:dr. S.G. Brederoo
When:April 01, 2021
Supervisors:prof. dr. M.M. (Monicque) Lorist, prof. dr. F.W. (Frans) Cornelissen
Co-supervisor:dr. M.R. (Mark) Nieuwenstein
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Behavioural and Social Sciences
A unified view of lateralized vision

Left for the trees, right for the forest

The fact that humans have two brain halves, each with their own specialization, speaks to the imagination. The left ‘language’ brain is commonly known example of brain specialization. Sanne Brederoo, researcher at the RUG, shows that the two brain halves are also strongly specialized for vision.

During the past 50 years, many studies were carried out to investigate the specialization of the two brain halves. With her dissertation, Brederoo shows that a number of such so-called specializations are in fact myths. Does this mean that the two halves of the brain perform the exact same tasks? Not quite, as that would be a waste of space. Brederoo convincingly shows that both halves –each with their own specializations– are involved in vision. The left halve is an expert in processing detail and reading words. (Not unexpected, given that words consist of letters: many small details.) The right halve is specialized in seeing the bigger picture and viewing faces. (Again quite understandable, given that we usually view faces as a whole, rather than looking at the nose, lips, or eyes individually.) In sum; both brain halves are active during everyday vision, each with their own specialization.In addition, Brederoo shares a remarkable finding: during the viewing of faces, a number of left-handed people use more of both brain halves instead of just the right one.So … when you’re unable to see the forest for the trees, your left brain is working too hard. Then you’d better address your right brain in order to see the bigger picture again.