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April 1983

Hemispheric Specialization and the Neurology of Emotion

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and the Sections of Neurology and Psychiatry, New England Deaconess Hospital, Boston.

Arch Neurol. 1983;40(4):195-202. doi:10.1001/archneur.1983.04050040025003

• The regulation of such biologic drives as sex and aggression is a critical evolutionary function required of the nervous system. There is evidence that, in humans, the right hemisphere is dominant for many "emotional" functions. In the cortical regions involved in emotion, there are two important, complementary, sensorilimbic connective pathways: a dorsal system critical for surveillance, attention, and arousal and a ventral system specialized for stimulus identification, learning, and emotional response. Hemispheric specialization may introduce lateral asymmetries in these sensorilimbic connections, which could account for contrasting dominance in both emotional functions and some cognitive domains.

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