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Temperaments and paw preference in cats

9 Oct

Bio-behavioral asymmetries are not unique to humans. A recent paper reports that paw preference in cats is linked to their temperament:

Research points to a relationship between lateralization and emotional functioning in humans and many species of animal. The present study explored the association between paw preferences and emotional functioning, specifically temperament, in a species thus far overlooked in this area, the domestic cat. Thirty left-pawed, 30 right-pawed, and 30 ambilateral pet cats were recruited following an assessment of their paw preferences using a food-reaching challenge. The animals’ temperament was subsequently assessed using the Feline Temperament Profile (FTP). Cats’ owners also completed a purpose-designed cat temperament (CAT) scale. Analysis revealed a significant relationship between lateral bias and FTP and CAT scale scores. Ambilateral cats had lower positive (FTP+) scores, and were perceived as less affectionate, obedient, friendly, and more aggressive, than left or right-pawed animals. Left and right pawed cats differed significantly on 1 trait on the CAT scale, namely playfulness. The strength of the cats’ paw preferences was related to the animals’ FTP and CAT scores. Cats with a greater strength of paw preference had higher FTP+ scores than those with a weaker strength of paw preference. Animals with stronger paw preferences were perceived as more confident, affectionate, active, and friendly than those with weaker paw preferences. Results suggest that motor laterality in the cat is strongly related to temperament and that the presence or absence of lateralization has greater implications for the expression of emotion in this species than the direction of the lateralized bias. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Hemisphericity and circadian preference

25 Mar

Two topics that I have interested me for a long time are circadian psychology (how behavior is shaped by circadian rhythms) and hemispericity (the still controversial idea that individual differences in psychology may be related to the brain’s hemispheres).

Here is a paper that ties these to areas together

“Research has shown that thinking styles could have an influence on academic achievement. Previous studies have described that evening types are usually right-thinkers who tend to be creative and intuitive, whereas morning types tend to be left-thinkers who prefer verbal and analytic strategies in processing information. However, these studies have been realized among undergraduates, who have more freedom to choose their time schedules according to their circadian preference than adolescents or adult workers. On other hand, the relationship between thinking styles and circadian preference has not been analyzed considering school achievement. The present study aims (1) to investigate the relationship between circadian preference, that is, behavioral differences in circadian rhythmic expression, and thinking styles, referring to the preference toward information processing typical of the right versus the left cerebral hemisphere; and (2) to test the implications for self-reported school achievement. A sample of 1134 preadolescents and adolescents (581 girls; mean ± SD age: 12.1 ± 1.47, range: 10–14 yrs) completed the Morningness-Eveningness Scale for Children (MESC) as measure of circadian preference (morning, neither, or evening types), the Hemispheric Preference Test (HPT), conceived as a tool to measure thinking styles (right-, balanced-, and left-thinkers), and self-reported school achievement. Results indicated a greater percentage of left-thinkers among morning types and a greater percentage of right-thinkers among evening types. No differences were found among balanced-thinkers and neither types. Morning types and left-thinkers reported the highest subjective level of achievement, followed by evening types and left-thinkers, and morning types and right-thinkers. Evening types and right-thinkers reported the lowest subjective level of achievement. Finally, multivariate regression analysis indicated that age, left hemisphere and morning preferences accounted for 14.2% of total variance on self-reported achievement.”

 

Handedness and creativity

24 Feb

A post on NOVAnext discusses the evidence for a link between handedness and creativity. The post links to a paper, published in Frontiers in Psychology, titled  “Degree of handedness, but not direction, is a systematic predictor of cognitive performance.” From that paper’s abstract:

“A growing body of evidence is reviewed showing that degree of handedness (consistent versus inconsistent) is a more powerful and appropriate way to classify handedness than the traditional one based on direction (right versus left). Experimental studies from the domains of episodic memory retrieval, belief updating/cognitive flexibility, risk perception, and more are described. These results suggest that inconsistent handedness is associated with increased interhemispheric interaction and increased access to processes localized to the right cerebral hemisphere.”

 

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