Information Processing In The Separated Hemispheres Of Callosotomy Patients: Does The Analytic-Holistic Dichotomy Hold?

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Brain And Cognition


The characterization of the left and right cerebral hemispheres as analytic and holistic, respectively, was evaluated with callosotomy patients. This distinction was operationalized by reference to the work of Garner, Kemler Nelson, and their colleagues on separable (analytic) and integral (holistic) dimensions of cognition. In one experiment, patients were asked to make similarity judgments when faced with triads of stimuli such that one pair matched on a criterial attribute (analytic) and another pair showed a family resemblance (holistic). The right hemisphere showed a stronger bias to judge on the basis of the criterial attribute. In a second experiment, each hemisphere was engaged separately in a concept formation task. Depending on the exemplars in a particular set, analytic or holistic processing was seen in either hemisphere. However, the left hemisphere was more likely to engage in analytic processing. The results suggest that both hemispheres are capable of either type of processing and may use either mode, depending on the nature of the task and stimulus material. Thus, the analytic/holistic distinction may not provide a simple, generalizable description of information processing differences between the two hemispheres.

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