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Discussion 1: Lateralization of Function

As often is the case in science, the study of unique phenomena can provide a wealth of knowledge and information about normal occurrences. This is true with regard to case studies of split-brain patients. The unique experiences of these patients have contributed a great deal to our understanding of how the brain functions in a range of both normal and extraordinary circumstances.

Split-brain patients are people who have had surgery to cut the corpus callosum, which you may recall, is the main pathway connecting the two halves of the cortex. Often, this procedure was done to alleviate symptoms of epilepsy. After the procedure, these patients acted normal enough that for the first few years after such surgeries were performed, and so physicians reported that there were no consequences of the procedure. Over the years, however, careful behavioral studies revealed that these patients appeared to have two minds at work in one body. One mind, mediated by the left hemisphere, could talk and respond to questions, while the other mind, in the right hemisphere, could only communicate by gestures and action. Remarkably, the left brain seemed to be unaware that another mind controlled half of the body

To prepare:

  • Review this week’s Learning Resources, paying close attention to the hemispheric organization of the brain, with specific regard to language.
  • Research Broca’s aphasia and Wernicke’s aphasia, and be prepared to explain the associated language impairments; consider which you believe would have a greater impact on daily life.

Post a response to the following:

  • Explain how split-brain patients demonstrate the organization of the brain. Describe the experiments performed with these patients and explain how they demonstrated language lateralization in the brain.
  • Then, consider language and language disorders. Which aspects of language seem to be found in the left hemisphere and which are found in the right?
  • Select either Broca’s aphasia or Wernicke’s aphasia and explain how brain damage results in the observed language impairment.
  • Finally, provide your opinion on whether it would be more impactful on daily life to have Broca’s aphasia or Wernicke’s aphasia, and explain your reasoning.

Discussion 2: Scholar-Practitioner in Training

As this course draws to an end, pause and consider all that you have investigated about biological psychology. You have examined the anatomy and physiology of the brain and nervous system, and explored the intricate relationship between neuronal networks, neurotransmitters, and behaviors. You have examined sensation, perception, learning, and memory. You have also investigated issues of attention, biological rhythms, as well as language and lateralization of the brain.

What insights have you gained? What topics have inspired you for further research or investigation? Why is understanding the relationship between brain and behavior important for anyone who tries to understand the human condition?


To prepare:

  • Refer back through your syllabus to reflect on the topics you have explored during this course. What knowledge will best support your role as a scholar-practitioner and what areas warrant further exploration?

Post a response to the following:

Summarize how this course added to your knowledge base, and how this information will support your future work as a scholar-practitioner. Then, describe one to two areas you wish to explore further as a result of this course. Be specific and use examples to illustrate your points.

Required Readings


Breedlove, S. M., & Watson, N. V. (2019). Behavioral neuroscience (9th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

  • Chapter 19, “Language and Lateralization”

Functional Network Dynamics of the Language System

Lucy R. Chai, Marcelo G. Mattar, Idan Asher Blank, Evelina Fedorenko, Danielle S. Bassett

Cerebral Cortex, Volume 26, Issue 11, 17 October 2016, Pages 4148–4159,


17 October 2016

Article history

Hemispheric lateralization in reasoning.


Turner, Benjamin O.1
Marinsek, Nicole2
Ryhal, Emily1
Miller, Michael B.1
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Nov2015, Vol. 1359 Issue 1, p47-64. 18p.
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