Project #26539 - Brain Lateralization

 

Your younger brother has recently read (and was fascinated by) the book One Brain, Two Minds, and he has decided that some people are “left-brained,” while others are “right-brained.”

The authors of the book reviewed previous research that studied “split-brain” patients, whose epileptic seizures had been treated surgically.  Each patient’s corpus callosum was cut.  The patients were then tested on visual information that was sent to either the right or left hemisphere of their brains.  When only the left hemisphere received the visual information, these patients were able to identify words and solve logical problems with no difficulty.  However, when the same information was presented to only the right hemisphere, they were incapable of talking or reasoning about it.  They were able to copy drawings and recognize faces, however.

The authors of One Brain, Two Minds concluded that people who are right-handed, and therefore left-hemisphere dominant (i.e., “left-brained”), generally are more logical and scientific than left-handers, who are right-hemisphere dominant (i.e., “right-brained”) and therefore less logical but more creative.

Because your brother is left-handed, he has decided to abandon his goal of becoming a science major in college, and he is quitting school to become a rap musician.

Note: As always, when considering the questions below, it would be better (i.e., worth more points) if your answers are more informative than a mere “yes” or “no,” or a few sentences.  Keep in mind that each essay is worth 5% of your course grade.  In other words, a response limited to just a couple of sentences is very unlikely to earn credit.  So think very carefully about the question that’s being asked, determine what information is needed to construct a good answer to that question, and then compose your answer in essay form.

In your essay, answer all of the following questions to the best of your ability.  Remember that this is an essay assignment.  Therefore, do not number your answers.

First, the authors the book One Brain, Two Minds presented several assertions, which could be regarded as hypotheses (i.e., statements of proposed relationships between variables).  Please start by listing as many of those assertions as possible.

- How well specified  are their hypotheses?  In other words, how clearly do they describe the exact relationships they claims exists between the independent and dependent variables?

- Can you restate any of their hypotheses in more specific terms?

Second, keep in mind that the authors the book One Brain, Two Minds have argued that some (valid) scientific research (i.e., the split-brain research) conducted by othersprovides evidence that supports their assertions.  In other words, what they have done in their book is to provide an interpretation of prior research findings.  So now you will be evaluating the validity of that interpretation.

- To what extent has any (or all) of their hypotheses been adequately tested by the prior research they reviewed?  In other words, how much support did their hypotheses receive by the scientific findings they reviewed?

- Have the authors adequately defined all the important concepts and terms used in their book?

- Did they use operational definitions?

- Would you have defined the important terms, variables, etc., differently?  Be specific.

- Does their interpretation make sense based on the evidence from split-brain research?

- Are there any alternative explanations that could adequately explain the split-brain evidence?

- Has the split-brain research ruled out any of these alternative explanations?

- How well would the alternative explanation be supported by the evidence? 

Finally, how would you design an experiment to properly test your alternative explanation against the one proposed by the book’s authors?  Please describe your proposed study by answering the following:

- What are your (proposed) independent and dependent variables?

- What is your hypothesis (i.e., your predicted relationship between the independent and dependent variables?

- What kind(s) of results would support your hypothesis?

- What kind(s) of results would disconfirm (i.e., cause you to reject, or rule out) your hypothesis?

 

Subject Science
Due By (Pacific Time) 04/05/2014 06:00 pm
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