Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Neuroscience Institute

First Advisor

David Alan Washburn

Abstract

A large number of studies in psychology and cognitive neuroscience suggest that the left and right cerebral hemispheres have differences in specialization of processing. The left hemisphere tends to be specialized for complex capacities such as language and numbers, whereas the right hemisphere typically shows advantages for visuospatial attention and recognition of nonverbal form. The present study was designed to investigate whether these functional cerebral asymmetries would extend to working memory tasks. It was hypothesized that the left hemisphere would have more advantage for accurate responses to a Number-based memory task, whereas the right hemisphere would be relatively advantaged for accurate responses on a Color-based memory task. For the Color-based memory task, we used a Corsi-Block memory task (4x4 grid). For the Number-based memory task, we used a string of 8 digits. In each case, to-be-remembered stimuli were constructed sequentially, such that participants (N = 39) had to form and maintain the image in working memory. Participants then compared these remembered stimuli with flashed images that appeared either on the left or right edge of the screen. We recorded the correct responses and the response time. The left hemisphere appears to be advantaged for accurate responses when the memory stimuli are numerical in nature, whereas the right hemisphere has more advantage for accurate responses on the color-memory task.

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