Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More love advice from Dr Kev

I have been working on laterality, specifically handedness, for some time. But there is a lot more to laterality than handedness and lateralisation in the brain is an important topic in neuroscience. The following paper caught my eye as being potentially useful to my young, or even not so young, colleagues.
What McKay et al show is that self-esteem is lateralized.So imagine subjects hearing particular words in each ear (i.e. one ear at a time). It turns out that words heard via the right ear (which are processed in the left-hemisphere) generate a higher feeling of self-esteem than those heard via the left-ear. So if you are going to whisper sweet nothings to your partner, or your desired partner, then you know what to do. I think you will be pleased with the results.
Alternatively, if you want to castigate your PhD student for their general fecklessness, use the left-ear if possible. As far as I can recall, the sense of smell is also lateralized 'though this may be harder to take advantage of in practice.

McKay, R., Arciuli, J., Atkinson, A., Bennett, E., & Pheils, E. (2010). Lateralisation of self-esteem: An investigation using a dichotically presented auditory adaptation of the Implicit Association Test. Cortex, 46 (3), 367-373


Peter Carney said...

ha, I'll keep that in mind..

quick question: any idea if comprehension is a lateralised process.

If i'm reading something that's positive, am I activating a different hemisphere than if i were reading something negative or neutral? aside from activating the amygdala?

Might sound daft (no pun intended) but might be easy to test this.. if you issued a neutral noise to one ear that would distract the other hemisphere while people are 1)reading and 2)listening to vignettes that are positive, negative and neutral. A test of recall could assess the level of comprehension, and controlling for IQ and other factors, you;d be able to tell.

Kevin Denny said...

I don't know off-hand but it would not surpise me. you could use the same design as the folks cited here. Prosody, comprehension of tone (like music) is in the right hemisphere, language in the left..

Caitriona Logue said...

Dr Kev,

I think your expertise is sorely missed at the “Love Lab” in Trinity’s Science Gallery. They’re running an experiment entitled “Whisper Sweet Nothings” but, unfortunately, I don’t think they’re looking at lateralisation.

Perhaps the University of Kentucky needs its very own love lab?

Kevin Denny said...

Its nice to have my expertise in this area (hitherto not widely acknowledged for some reason) finally recognized.
"Dr Kev's Lurve lab" I like the sound of it but someone near and dear to me might object...