Handedness and Happiness: The Interaction Between Hand Dominance and Emotion Processing

Geoffrey Brookshire : Psychology

Mentor: Professor Richard Ivry, Psychology

There is a wealth of literature documenting the asymmetric role of the two cerebral hemispheres in different aspects of cognition. Although this has been most exhaustively studied with respect to language and spatial cognition, robust laterality effects are also present in emotion. Experiments performed on right-handed subjects associate the left hemisphere with approach-based behavior and positive emotional states and the right hemisphere with withdrawal and negative emotions. Right-handers, along similar lines, are quicker to respond to stimuli of positive valence when they are presented on the right side of space and to negative stimuli when on the left. Left-handers, however, show the opposite pattern. Geoff will compare the neurophysiology of affective processing in right- and left-handers in order to determine whether or not this behavioral result is neurologically substantiated.