(review articles & studies) Hemispheric Specificity


Blonder, Bowers, Heilman (perception of facial express and prosody)

  • Florida Affect Battery
  • RHD impaired on perception of facial expression and prosody
    • not due to VS properties b/c stim were presented verbally
    • not due to inability of RBD to interpret emotional signif of events b/c able to comprehend emotional sentences (i.e., mom was pissed at the dog for tracking in mud)
    • not due to fact that RBD lost ability to perform cmplx inferential processing b/c reading level at same as NC and LBD
  • 2 interpretations can be made from data:
  1. may be 2 indep systems that are impaired following RBD: system to decode cmplx aud/ visual patterns present in nonverbal emotional expression, other system which assoc beh with emotion
  2. hierarchical system mediates comprehension of nonverbal communicative stim (what they favor)

Cohen (perception of gestures, emotional comprehension, prosody)

  • RTLE<NC=LTLE (all 3 measures); children
  • RH dominant for affective comprehension and that the organization of affective

Borod et al. (facial expression- expressive communication)

  • R and LBD; spontaneous expression of emotions (to slides), posed expression of emotion (look happy), perception of pos/ neg facial emotions
    • Ss with RHD have deficits in processing facial emotion compared to LHD and NC. Further, the notion of valence distinction and hemi. differences was not supported.

Wechsler (emotional memory)

  • immediate recall of 2 stories (amnt recalled and affective content recalled)
  • BD recalled fewer items than the NC on both stories.
  • BD (neutral>affective material)
  • RHD>LHD & BD (overall recall)
  • LHD made fewer errors on the emotionally laden story than the RHD group
  1. cerebral brain damage results in a greater impairment of recall of emotionally charged, verbally presented material than for neutral material
  2. LHD- quantitative errors (recalling less items), did better at emotion content recall than RHD -RH -dominant role in recalling emotionally charged, verbally presented material.

Cimino et al. (series of studies) (emotional memory)

1. RHD & NC

  • describe an event from own life related to cue word (neutral or emotional), decide when the event occurred, how emotionally signif, rated for emotional expression.
  • RHD <NC (emotional reports, less specific)

2. NC presented lateralized pos, neg & neut words/ nonwords (to L and RVF)

  • overall so RVF/ LH adv (expected b/c verbal material)
  • recognition data provided strong support for valence model (LH more accurate for pos than neg words and neg words adv for RH)
  • free recall and perception data provided partial support (LH more accurate for pos, trend for RH more accurate for neg for perception, no diff in free reall)

Babinski (contributions of amygdala to emotional memory)

  • case study of bilateral TL damage (mostly amygdala)
  • intact intelligence, general memory, and other cog domains intact
  • specific, affect-related memory ds
  • conclude that amygdala’s role is to process events in a way that is of specific emotional significance and plays a bottleneck fx for affect-related LTM

Components of Emotion & Studies

Physiological arousal (studied via experience)


  • Gainotti (1st to show this); Babinski and Golstein first to suggest this

RBD (euphoria, indifference)

LBD (catastrophic rxn, depression)

  • specifically: catastrophic rxn (62% L; 10% R) euphoria/ indiff (38% R; 11% L)
  • note, although sensitive, lacks specificity
  • WADA studies: injection into LH (catastrophic rxn) RH (euphoria) when drug wore off)
  • MMPI studies have shown that more LBD are depressed compared to RBD (Gasparrini)
  • Robinson found that LFD and LSC damage after stroke (depression), but often resolved
    • sxs were worse the closer the LH were to F lobes
    • showed that RBD showed reverse (posterior more depressed than anterior strokes)
  • Starkstein : LF & L caudate D more assoc with depression, closer to the frontal pole-worse
  • also see section on prosody (expression)


  • Davidson has done the majority of the work here with NC and depressed looking at EEG with respect to mood valence:
  1. depressed students have lower resting activation levels in LF
  2. induced depressed mood assoc with lower LF activation
  • PET studies have also shown hypometabolism in LF in depressed pts (Bench et al.) esp in L anterior cingulate and DLPF


  • lesions to the F, limibic and amygdala regions all result in emotional changes (see notes)

Overt behavior (studied via expression)


1. NC

  • Moscovitch & Olds recorded facial expresions: L-sided (more)
  • in lit, L hemiface reported more intense production of emotions

2. BD

  • Kolb: anterior lesions causes greater reduction in freq/ intensity of facial expressions than posterior damage (consistent with monkey studies); i.e., FD worse off than TD
  • Kolb also showed chanbed in spontaneous talking: RFL (incr); LFF (decr)
  • Ursual Bellugi showed decreased gestural expression in deaf signers with RBD
  • general conclusions: RBD may reduce facial express, but method differences including:
    • site of lesion in R vs LH
    • size of lesion
    • time since onset of lesion/ disturbance
    • age & sex of Ss
    • means of measurement and induction tech


  1. NC
  2. BD
  • Tucker found that RBD severely impaired in saying semantically neutral stmt (They boy went to the store) sad, happy, indifferent prosody; spoke in monotone voice
  • often see aprosody of speech after RBD:
    • flat when speak sentences with tone
    • accuracy and intensity of prosody decreases
    • no valence difference found
  • Motor aprosodia and sensory have been distinguished:

a.) motor A analogous to BA (but RH)- inability to produce prosody

b.) sensory A have deficit in ability to comprehend prosody (R WA)

  • have shown d.dissoc of both and can have both (with RBD)
  • Ross argued that LH responsible for propositional aspects of language whereas RH responsible for emotional prosodic elements of speech
  • many areas have been suggested as important in prosody: F, P and pre-rolandic, T, BG

GSR (autonomic)

  • RH see decrease in response to emotional stimuli


  • see sct on deaf signers (Bellugi)

Cognitive Processes (studied via evaluation)

Visual-nonverbal material

1. NC (RH advantage)

a.) Bryden (T-scope); found LVF superiority (match expression even after covary face matching

b.) Priming studies show LVF advantage for affective ladden words (interactions with valence; RH-sad; LH-happy)

c.) Chimeric face studies show: judgment of which face looks happier (fill in the emotion)- LVF (judgment)- so L side of face

2. Clinical (RH damage impairs eval, LF too)

a.) Split brain studies show: impaired ID facial expression with LH (Benowitz et al.)

b.) WADA testings show: LH rate faces as less emotional than RH

c.) RBD:

  • overall have shown impaired:
  • comp/ appreciation of humor without captions (Gardner et al.; Brownell et al.)
  • impaired word & sentence id, word discrim (emotional content) – (Borod et al.) so role in lexically based emotional stim
  • Blonder: impired match. scenarios to facial, vocal & gestural emotional expression
  • Bowers suggests not perceptual deficits (vs intact) &b/c impaired when verbally described (e.g., “her eyes widened, he raised his fist- )
  • also suggests it’s not due to deicits in breakdown of emotional semantic knowledge (able to infer that tracking in mud on carpet would make mom mad)

3. impaired evaluation of emotional facial expression

  • RBD only (no valence effect):
    • Borod et al.- also found same impairment in SZ with neg sx suggesting that it’s assoc with RH dysfnct)
    • Borod et al. (found RBD impaired in both perception and expression of emotion; no valence effect compared to LBD)
  • No evidence
    • Hirschman & Safer also found no valence or HS effect (NC Ss only and T-scoped naming and rating intensity of facial)
  • (Valence effect)- typically stronger for L (pos) if found:
    • Duda & Brown: T-scope (NC); RT (indicate happy/ sad)
    • RT quicker for happy faces (LVF-RH)
    • RT (no difference for sad); so partial support
  • Lorenz & Davidson (same set up as Duda study)
    • RT quicker for happy faces (LVF-RH)
    • RT quicker for sad faces (RVF-LH)
  • Davidson & Fox (EEG diff in perception of pos/ neg faces in infants)
    • LF>RF and P (happy segments)
    • sad stimuli (no difference)

Auditory- Prosody

1. NC

  • on dichotic listening task, show LEA-RH for discriminating emotional tones

2. Clinical

  • RBD impaired comprehension of affective prosody (Heilman et al.)- while they found nonaffective prosody not to differ from LBD (both grps worse on this than NC); (Bowers et al.)
  • Heilman had R and LBD rate mood of speaker (R worse)

Emotional memory (not a lot out there)

  • typically show either RBD worse (Wexler- see other notes on this study)
  • have shown partial support for valence notion (Cimino- see other notes on this study)