The right hemisphere is considered to be the hemisphere more adept at visual-spatial relations. The right hemisphere processes information holistically rather than part by part like the left hemisphere does.

Auditory, visual, and tactile stimuli register in both hemispheres, but the right hemisphere appears to be more specialized than the left for complex perceptual tasks.

The Right Hemisphere’s Role in Emotion

The right hemisphere is more active in the recognition and expression of emotion than the left. It even responds to the emotional message conveyed by another’s tone of voice. A person with damage to the right hemisphere may not be able to recognize things like sarcasm, only the actual meaning of the words.

Reading and interpreting nonverbal behavior, such as gestures and facial expressions, is primarily a right hemisphere task.

The right hemisphere is involved in our expression of emotion through tone of voice and particularly facial expressions. The left side of the face usually conveys stronger emotion than the right side because it is controlled by the right side of the brain.

There is now evidence that the brain mechanisms responsible for negative emotions reside in the right hemisphere, while those responsible for positive emotions are located in the left hemisphere. Research has shown that patients suffering from major depression experience decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex, where positive emotions are produced.

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