Learning Styles and Neuroanatomy of the Left & Right Hemispheres of the Brain
This is a paper concerning learning styles and the right/left hemispheres. How do these affect the higher order visual processing?
NEUROANATOMY OF THE BRAIN AND LEARNING STYLES
The human brain is mind puzzling when you think of all the intimate parts and how they affect learning. The study of Neuroanatomy of the brain and learning styles helps individuals to try to understand their individual dominance in right/left hemisphere.
The human brain consists of over one hundred billion nerve cells. This is "organized into a system of sense, process, store, information received from both the external environment and from internal factors" (Winkley 1999). The brain is a complicated muscle that makes the individual what he is. The brain is the key organ of learning. Ronald Savage, Ed.D. says, "All that we do, all that we are, emanates from our brain" (2002).
Right and left Hemispheres
The most complicated part of the brain is the cerebral cortex made up of the right hemisphere and left hemisphere with each having four lobes. The cortex is full of wrinkles and folds. Each of the hemispheres has their unique way of processing information. The right hemisphere is more holistic, visual spatial, and intuitive. The left hemisphere is more linear, verbal analytic, and logical. The cerebral hemispheres control the opposite sides of the body (Savage 2002). Each of the hemispheres have four lobes called frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital. These hemispheres have complimentary specialized skills with the difference in them being the function of information processing. This can be said in a nutshell by saying, "The differences can summarized as the frontal cortex is responsible for abstract thoughts (Winkley 1999). The left hemisphere processes information as discrete units in linear sequential time and dominant for fine motor control of the fingers and language skills. The left hemisphere analyses various changing information and notices the specific details and precise definition (Winkley 1999).
The right side is dominant in emotions, emotional memory, social functioning, and musical ability. This side is capable of identifying the context and an overall view of the situation. This helps with social skills, emotional experiences, and the visual spatial tasks. It works with the perception and analysis of visual space -- depth, distance, orientation, and perspective. The right side is known as the artistic side. The right side recognizes the facial recognition of people, body image, and has control of attention. Neither side is dominant over the other side.
While the prefrontal cortex is responsible for attention, planning, delay of gratification, regulation of feeling, and voluntary control of movement. The occipital lobe is the primary visual center that is positioned away from the eyes in the back of the skull. The visual cortex is connected by optic nerves. This is a very complicated system of the visual center. Another important lobe is the temporal lobe. It is the center for language, hearing, and where memories are stored. The process of hearing, similar to vision, is very complicated, but different in many ways. Each part of the brain has specific functions and purpose. The brain is as complicated as a computer with its many nerve cells that make up the complicated network of the brain. "The human brain is more intricate than the world's most complex computers, while actually transmitting more electricity than a big screen television" (Christie 2000).
In the education field, it is important to develop the relationship between students and learning in the classroom. It is necessary to help the students to connect associations from sensory input to nuerological processing to output. Scott Christie (2000) shows it this way:
Researchers say that 90% of an individual's daily perceptions are forgotten, but with stimulation these can be recalled.
Study of the Right and Left Hemisphere
Researchers have studied the fibers in the left and right hemispheres by severing nerve fibers in them. Christie (2000) says the following information was found in their study:
Expressive and receptive language, reasoning, and sequencing are found in the left hemisphere."
Geometric figures, visual forms, and facial identity are located in the right hemisphere."
The right hemisphere is not non-verbal, but once speech has been lateralized the left hemispheric dominance for language occurs."
95% of right-handed people have left hemisphere dominance, while 70% of all others still maintain left hemisphere dominance for Language Processing. This is indicative of cerebral hemispheric dominance" (328).
Remember that left sensory and motor activities come from the opposite hemisphere in the brain.
When the visual field so the right or left fixation point can be perceived at one time this is half-visual field. The dominant side is stimulated (occipital lobe excitation). When the half visual field is limited, learning can be accomplished by the individual's learning style. A learner can have mixed dominance, not dominant in left or right hemisphere, which can lead to learning difficulties. An individual can have dominance in the wrong hemisphere that creates problems. An example of this can be found when the individual's dominance is localized in the right hemisphere (the non-language hemisphere) causing problems in the language process (Christie 2000).
Review of Literature
Seiji Nagae in the article, "Handedness and Cerebral Hemispheric Differences in Memory for Pictorial Organization" writes about the hemispheric specialization studies of the brain. He discusses the stages of the processing model written by Moscovitch in 1979. He states that the early stages of processing involve the extraction of physical and sensory stiumuli are similar in both hemispheres of the brain. The differences in the hemispheres come at a later stage, and will be connected with the processing capabilities of each hemisphere. The transformations of the input processes are retained in the hemisphere by specific codes. What another researcher had investigated is the hemispheric asymmetries in long-term memory in a hemified paradigm. The results of his study revealed no differences in accuracy between the left and right visual fields and pictorial organization.
Another researcher found that verbalized pictures were dominant in the right visual field (left hemisphere) because of the left-hemisphere specialized in language production. Nagae says that more research needs to be done before making any decisions. Nagae states that the right-handers store and processes verbal and spatial information in different processing systems. Left-handers have more problems in processing verbal and spatial information.
Method used by Nagae
Nague (1994) took twenty-six male students in the Fukuoka University of Education in Japan to do his study. Thirteen of these students were right-handed and 13 of them were left-handers. Nagae used the Annett's Assessment of Handedness questionnaire to assess the handedness of his subjects. Approximately twelve of the questions asked which hand the subjects used most. Each question was assigned one point.
The stimuli were eight drawings of organized or unorganized scenes. Recognition memory was tested with two different probes. There were 64 trials, 32 single details, and 32 whole scenes. The experiment was conducted in two stages.
Learning stages of experiment series of 16 pictures were presented at the center of vision for 5 minutes per minute. The organized and unorganized pictures were arranged in random order. Subjects were asked to scan each picture. Each subject was given 16 exposures of the picture in which they were to learn (Nagae 1994).
Next game the VHF recognition test. Each subject was given a visual half-field recognition test. The task was to press yes or no button with the index finger to indicate whether the probes were part of the remembered series of pictures. The correct response was scored in two ways: the correct positive response or the correct negative response.
Results of the experiment
The results for positive-response did not show that the organized pictures were faster in the left visual field than in the right. It was not clear whether the left visual field between latencies was organized vs. The unorganized pictures. Three findings were of interest in this experiment. The Organization x Probe indicated that the difference in correct recognition for detail and whole scenes was greater in response to detailed probes than in the whole-scene probe.
Nagae's (1994) findings were similar to Zeidel's earlier study. What a person perceives is affected by the schema input. The detail probes were equally as strong in the partial, but the whole scene probes were stronger in the organized pictures than the unorganized pictures.
The importance of further review with pictures and students concerning the visual processing is important to help teachers, administrators, school counselors, and others to use the knowledge concerning the right and left hemisphere.
Second review of literature
Isadore Sonnier (1991) in the article, "Hemisphericity: A Key to Understanding Individual Differences Among Teachers and Learners" states that the hemisphericity may be a major contributor to individual differences among people. She feels strongly that the understanding of individual differences among teachers and students may open doors to greater knowledge and ability to teach…