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Brain Cogn. 2013 Dec;83(3):337-41. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2013.09.012. Epub 2013 Oct 19.

Asymmetrical hemisphere activation enhances global-local processing.

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The University of Alabama, United States. Electronic address:


Decades of research focusing on the neurophysiological underpinnings related to global-local processing of hierarchical stimuli have associated global processing with the right hemisphere and local processing with the left hemisphere. The current experiment sought to expand this research by testing the causal contributions of hemisphere activation to global-local processing. To manipulate hemisphere activation, participants engaged in contralateral hand contractions. Then, EEG activity and attentional scope were measured. Right-hand contractions caused greater relative left-cortical activity than left-hand contractions. Participants were more narrowly focused after left-hemisphere activation than after right-hemisphere activation. Moreover, N1 amplitudes to local targets in the left hemisphere were larger after left-hemisphere activation than after right-hemisphere activation. Consistent with past research investigating hemispheric asymmetry and attentional scope, the current results suggest that manipulating left (right) hemisphere activity enhanced local (global) attentional processing.


Attention; Global–local; Hemisphere asymmetry

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