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Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Fakultät für Psychologie
AE Biopsychologie
IB 6-121 - Postfach 18
D-44780 Bochum

Phone: +49 234 - 32 28213
Fax: +49 234 - 32 14377




News & Views

Brain lateralization: A comparative perspective

...Brain asymmetries are key components of sensory, cognitive, and motor systems of humans and other animals. This comprehensive review from Bochum biopsychologists tracks their development from embryological asymmetries of genetic expression patterns up to left-right differences of neural networks in adults. It also offers on overview of the evolution of neural asymmetries as well as the history of its discoveries. These insights are crucial to understand the functional pattern of the lateralized human brain.




Güntürkün, O., Ströckens, F. & Ocklenburg, S.. Brain Lateralization: A Comparative Perspective. Physiol Rev., 2020, 100: 1019-1063.

News & Views

Problem-Solving ability and laterality in cats

...There is a long history of research linking lateralization to cognitive abilities, but so far this association had not been investigated in cats. An international research team from Turkey, Portugal and Germany of which the biopsychology was a part now investigated the association between hemispheric asymmetries and cognitive in cats.  To this end, strength and direction of paw preferences in 41 cats were measured using two novel food reaching tasks in which the animals needed to open a lid in order to reach the food reward. The research team found that cats that showed a clear preference for one paw were able to open more lids succesfully than ambilateral animals. Moreover, cats that preferred to interact with the test apparatus with their paw from the beginning, opened more lids than cats the first tried to interact with the test apparatus using their heads. Results also suggested a predictive validity of the first paw usage for general paw usage. It was also shown that the cats' individual paw preferences were stable and task-independent. These results yield further support to the idea that lateralization may enhance cognitive abilities.



Isparta, S., Salgirli Demirbas, Y., Bars, Z., Cinar Kul, B., Güntürkün, O., Ocklenburg, S. and Da Graca Pereira,G.. The relationship between problem-solving ability and laterality in cats. Behav Brain Res. 2020 Aug 5;391:112691.


News & Views

Lateralization of Auditory Processing of Silbo Gomero

...Silbo Gomero is a Spanish whistled language that is mainly used on the island of Silbo Gomero. It has rarely been investigated neuroscientifically, but a research team from the biopsychology now analyzed lateralization in this unusual language. The research team used a vocal and a whistled dichotic listening task in a sample of 75 healthy Spanish speakers. Both individuals that were able to whistle and to understand Silbo Gomero and a non-whistling control group showed a clear right-ear advantage for vocal dichotic listening. For whistled dichotic listening, the control group did not show any hemispheric asymmetries. In contrast, the whistlers’ group showed a right-ear advantage for whistled stimuli. This right-ear advantage was, however, smaller compared to the right-ear advantage found for vocal dichotic listening. In line with a previous study on language lateralization of whistled Turkish, these findings suggest that whistled language processing is associated with a decrease in left and a relative increase in right hemispheric processing. This shows that bihemispheric processing of whistled language stimuli occurs independent of language.

Villar González, P., Güntürkün, O. & Ocklenburg, S.. Lateralization of Auditory Processing of Silbo Gomero. Symmetry 2020,12, 1183.

News & Views

The World’s Biggest Study on Left-Handedness

...How many people really are left-handed? An international research team from Greece, the UK and Germany of which the biopsychology lab was a part now conducted the largest meta-analysis in the world on left-handedness to clarify this question. The researchers could show that prevalence of left-handedness lies between 9.3%  to 18.1%, with the best overall estimate being 10.6%. Handedness variability depends on (a) study characteristics, namely year of publication and ways to measure and classify handedness, and (b) participant characteristics, namely sex and ancestry.



Papadatou-Pastou, M., Ntolka, E., Schmitz, J., Martin, M., Munafò, M. R., Ocklenburg, S., & Paracchini, S.. Human handedness: A meta-analysis. Psycho Bull. 2020 Jun; 146(6):481-524.

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