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Case Reports
, 45 (10), 2378-86

The Calculating Hemispheres: Studies of a Split-Brain Patient

Case Reports

The Calculating Hemispheres: Studies of a Split-Brain Patient

Margaret G Funnell et al. Neuropsychologia.


The purpose of the study was to investigate simple calculation in the two cerebral hemispheres of a split-brain patient. In a series of four experiments, the left hemisphere was superior to the right in simple calculation, confirming the previously reported left hemisphere specialization for calculation. In two different recognition paradigms, right hemisphere performance was at chance for all arithmetic operations, with the exception of subtraction in a two-alternative forced choice paradigm (performance was at chance when the lure differed from the correct answer by a magnitude of 1 but above chance when the magnitude difference was 4). In a recall paradigm, the right hemisphere performed above chance for both addition and subtraction, but performed at chance levels for multiplication and division. The error patterns in that experiment suggested that for subtraction and addition, the right hemisphere does have some capacity for approximating the solution even when it is unable to generate the exact solution. Furthermore, right hemisphere accuracy in addition and subtraction was higher for problems with small operands than with large operands. An additional experiment assessed approximate and exact addition in the two hemispheres for problems with small and large operands. The left hemisphere was equally accurate in both tasks but the right hemisphere was more accurate in approximate addition than in exact addition. In exact addition, right hemisphere accuracy was higher for problems with small operands than large, but the opposite pattern was found for approximate addition.

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