Special Issue "Left Versus Right Asymmetries of Brain and Behaviour"

A special issue of Symmetry (ISSN 2073-8994). This special issue belongs to the section "Biology and Symmetry/Asymmetry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2018) | Viewed by 19907

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Special Issue Editor

Emeritus Prof. Lesley J. Rogers, B.Sc.(Hons), D.Phil., D.Sc., FAA
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Science and Technology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia
Interests: lateralization of brain and behaviour in vertebrates and invertebrates; development of lateralization; evolution of lateralization; function of brain asymmetry; communication in birds and primates
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Asymmetry of the brain and of behaviour is a characteristic of a wide range of vertebrate species, as shown by an increasing number of studies testing animals in the laboratory and in the natural environment. Recently, some asymmetries have also been found in invertebrate species. Given its ubiquity, lateralization must confer an advantage for survival, despite the apparent disadvantages of side biases in perception and response. The disadvantage is exemplified by the fact many species respond to predators more readily when seen on the left side and to prey on the right side. How do different species deal with these asymmetries and how does having a lateralized brain affect cognition?

This Special Issue is interested in papers on these topics, as well as reports of experimental evidence for asymmetry in different species and for processing different types of information. Contributions on the development, evolution and function of asymmetry are welcomed. Papers reporting research findings, reviews and theoretical discussions on asymmetry of the brain or behaviour are relevant and encouraged. Asymmetry in different sensory modalities and of motor control are also relevant topics.

Emeritus Prof. Lesley J. Rogers
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Lateralized behaviour
  • Asymmetry of brain processing
  • Hemispheric differences
  • Development
  • Evolution
  • Advantages
  • Disadvantages
  • Influence of experience
  • Vision
  • Audition
  • Olfaction

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Relationship between Motor Laterality and Aggressive Behavior in Sheepdogs
Symmetry 2019, 11(2), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11020233 - 15 Feb 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1890
Abstract
Sheepdogs’ visuospatial abilities, their control of prey-driven behavior and their motor functions are essential characteristics for success in sheepdog trials. We investigated the influence of laterality on 15 sheepdogs’ (Canis familiaris) spontaneous turning motor pattern around a herd and on their [...] Read more.
Sheepdogs’ visuospatial abilities, their control of prey-driven behavior and their motor functions are essential characteristics for success in sheepdog trials. We investigated the influence of laterality on 15 sheepdogs’ (Canis familiaris) spontaneous turning motor pattern around a herd and on their behavior during the first encounter with sheep in a training session. The most relevant finding of this research was that the dogs displayed significantly more aggressive behavior toward the sheep when turning in a counterclockwise direction around the herd. Considering that in counterclockwise turns the sheep were in the dogs’ left visual hemifield, the high frequency of aggressions registered during counterclockwise turns suggests right hemisphere main activation. Overall, our results revealed the existence of a relationship between motor lateralization and aggressive behavior in dogs during sheepdog training and have practical implications for sheepdog training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Left Versus Right Asymmetries of Brain and Behaviour)
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Article
Meta-Control in Pigeons (Columba livia) and the Role of the Commissura Anterior
Symmetry 2019, 11(2), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11020124 - 22 Jan 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1729
Abstract
Meta-control describes an interhemispheric response conflict that results from the perception of stimuli that elicit a different reaction in each hemisphere. The dominant hemisphere for the perceived stimulus class often wins this competition. There is evidence from pigeons that meta-control results from interhemispheric [...] Read more.
Meta-control describes an interhemispheric response conflict that results from the perception of stimuli that elicit a different reaction in each hemisphere. The dominant hemisphere for the perceived stimulus class often wins this competition. There is evidence from pigeons that meta-control results from interhemispheric response conflicts that prolong reaction time when the animal is confronted with conflicting information. However, recent evidence in pigeons also makes it likely that the dominant hemisphere can slow down the subdominant hemisphere, such that meta-control could instead result from the interhemispheric speed differences. Since both explanations make different predictions for the effect of commissurotomy, we tested pigeons in a meta-control task both before and after transection of the commissura anterior. This fiber pathway is the largest pallial commissura of the avian brain. The results revealed a transient phase in which meta-control possibly resulted from interhemispheric response conflicts. In subsequent sessions and after commissurotomy, however, the results suggest interhemispheric speed differences as a basis for meta-control. Furthermore, they reveal that meta-control is modified by interhemispheric transmission via the commissura anterior, although it does not seem to depend on it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Left Versus Right Asymmetries of Brain and Behaviour)
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Article
Dynamics of Laterality in Lake Tanganyika Scale-Eaters Driven by Cross-Predation
Symmetry 2019, 11(1), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11010119 - 20 Jan 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2032
Abstract
Scale-eating cichlid fishes, Perissodus spp., in Lake Tanganyika have laterally asymmetrical bodies, and each population is composed of righty and lefty morphs. Righty morphs attack the right side of prey and lefty morphs do the opposite. This anti-symmetric dimorphism has a genetic basis. [...] Read more.
Scale-eating cichlid fishes, Perissodus spp., in Lake Tanganyika have laterally asymmetrical bodies, and each population is composed of righty and lefty morphs. Righty morphs attack the right side of prey and lefty morphs do the opposite. This anti-symmetric dimorphism has a genetic basis. Temporal changes in the frequencies of morphs in two cohabiting scale-eating species (Perissodus microlepis and P. straeleni) were investigated over a 31-year period on a rocky shore at the southern end of the lake. Dimorphism was maintained dynamically during the period in both species, and the frequencies oscillated with a period of about four years in a semi-synchronized manner. Recent studies have indicated that this type of anti-symmetric dimorphism is shared widely among fishes, and is maintained by frequency-dependent selection between predator and prey species. The combinations of laterality in each scale-eater and its victim were surveyed. The results showed that “cross-predation”, in which righty predators catch lefty prey and lefty predators catch righty prey, occurred more frequently than the reverse combination (“parallel-predation”). The cause of the predominance of cross-predation is discussed from the viewpoint of the physical and sensory abilities of fishes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Left Versus Right Asymmetries of Brain and Behaviour)
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Article
A Crucial Role of Attention in Lateralisation of Sound Processing?
Symmetry 2019, 11(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11010048 - 03 Jan 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1562
Abstract
Studies on auditory laterality have revealed asymmetries for processing, particularly species-specific signals, in vertebrates and that each hemisphere may process different features according to their functional “value”. Processing of novel, intense emotion-inducing or finer individual features may require attention and we hypothesised that [...] Read more.
Studies on auditory laterality have revealed asymmetries for processing, particularly species-specific signals, in vertebrates and that each hemisphere may process different features according to their functional “value”. Processing of novel, intense emotion-inducing or finer individual features may require attention and we hypothesised that the “functional pertinence” of the stimuli may be modulating attentional processes and hence lateralisation of sound processing. Behavioural measures in “(food) distracted” captive Campbell’s monkeys and electrophysiological recordings in anesthetised (versus awake) European starlings were performed during the broadcast of auditory stimuli with different functional “saliences” (e.g., familiar/novel). In Campbell’s monkeys, only novel sounds elicited lateralised responses, with a right hemisphere preference. Unfamiliar sounds elicited more head movements, reflecting enhanced attention, whereas familiar (usual in the home environment) sounds elicited few responses, and thus might not be arousing enough to stimulate attention. In starlings, in field L, when awake, individual identity was processed more in the right hemisphere, whereas, when anaesthetised, the left hemisphere was more involved in processing potentially socially meaningless sounds. These results suggest that the attention-getting property of stimuli may be an adapted concept for explaining hemispheric auditory specialisation. An attention-based model may reconcile the different existing hypotheses of a Right Hemisphere-arousal/intensity or individual based lateralisation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Left Versus Right Asymmetries of Brain and Behaviour)
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Article
Lateral Asymmetry of Brain and Behaviour in the Zebra Finch, Taeniopygia guttata
Symmetry 2018, 10(12), 679; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym10120679 - 01 Dec 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1492
Abstract
Lateralisation of eye use indicates differential specialisation of the brain hemispheres. We tested eye use by zebra finches to view a model predator, a monitor lizard, and compared this to eye use to view a non-threatening visual stimulus, a jar. We used a [...] Read more.
Lateralisation of eye use indicates differential specialisation of the brain hemispheres. We tested eye use by zebra finches to view a model predator, a monitor lizard, and compared this to eye use to view a non-threatening visual stimulus, a jar. We used a modified method of scoring eye preference of zebra finches, since they often alternate fixation of a stimulus with the lateral, monocular visual field of one eye and then the other, known as biocular alternating fixation. We found a significant and consistent preference to view the lizard using the left lateral visual field, and no significant eye preference to view the jar. This finding is consistent with specialisation of the left eye system, and right hemisphere, to attend and respond to predators, as found in two other avian species and also in non-avian vertebrates. Our results were considered together with hemispheric differences in the zebra finch for processing, producing, and learning song, and with evidence of right-eye preference in visual searching and courtship behaviour. We conclude that the zebra finch brain has the same general pattern of asymmetry for visual processing as found in other vertebrates and suggest that, contrary to earlier indications from research on lateralisation of song, this may also be the case for auditory processing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Left Versus Right Asymmetries of Brain and Behaviour)
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Article
Laterality as a Predictor of Coping Strategies in Dogs Entering a Rescue Shelter
Symmetry 2018, 10(11), 538; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym10110538 - 23 Oct 2018
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2038
Abstract
It has been reported that during the first few days following entry to a kennel environment, shelter dogs may suffer poor welfare. Previous work suggests that motor bias (the preferred use of one limb over the other) can potentially be used as an [...] Read more.
It has been reported that during the first few days following entry to a kennel environment, shelter dogs may suffer poor welfare. Previous work suggests that motor bias (the preferred use of one limb over the other) can potentially be used as an indicator of emotional reactivity and welfare risk. In this study, we investigate whether paw preference could be used as a predictive indicator of stress coping (measured using cortisol levels and behavioural observation) in a sample of 41 dogs entering a rescue shelter. Cortisol levels and behavioural observations were collected for one week after admission. We scored the dogs’ paw preference during a food-retrieval task. Our results showed that increasing left-pawedness was associated with a higher expression of stress-related behaviours such as frequent change of state, vocalisations and lower body posture. These results are in keeping with previous findings showing that left-limb biased animals are more vulnerable to stress. Paw preference testing may be a useful tool for detecting different coping strategies in dogs entering a kennel environment and identifying target individuals at risk of reduced welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Left Versus Right Asymmetries of Brain and Behaviour)
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Article
Social Risk Dissociates Social Network Structure across Lateralized Behaviors in Spider Monkeys
Symmetry 2018, 10(9), 390; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym10090390 - 09 Sep 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2084
Abstract
Reports of lateralized behavior are widespread, although the majority of findings have focused on the visual or motor domains. Less is known about laterality with regards to the social domain. We previously observed a left-side bias in two social affiliative behaviors—embrace and face-embrace—in [...] Read more.
Reports of lateralized behavior are widespread, although the majority of findings have focused on the visual or motor domains. Less is known about laterality with regards to the social domain. We previously observed a left-side bias in two social affiliative behaviors—embrace and face-embrace—in captive Colombian spider monkeys (Ateles fusciceps rufiventris). Here we applied social network analysis to laterality for the first time. Our findings suggest that laterality influences social structure in spider monkeys with structural differences between networks based on direction of behavioral bias and social interaction type. We attribute these network differences to a graded spectrum of social risk comprised of three dimensions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Left Versus Right Asymmetries of Brain and Behaviour)
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Article
Incubation under Climate Warming Affects Behavioral Lateralisation in Port Jackson Sharks
Symmetry 2018, 10(6), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym10060184 - 28 May 2018
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4278
Abstract
Climate change is warming the world’s oceans at an unprecedented rate. Under predicted end-of-century temperatures, many teleosts show impaired development and altered critical behaviors, including behavioral lateralisation. Since laterality is an expression of brain functional asymmetries, changes in the strength and direction of [...] Read more.
Climate change is warming the world’s oceans at an unprecedented rate. Under predicted end-of-century temperatures, many teleosts show impaired development and altered critical behaviors, including behavioral lateralisation. Since laterality is an expression of brain functional asymmetries, changes in the strength and direction of lateralisation suggest that rapid climate warming might impact brain development and function. However, despite the implications for cognitive functions, the potential effects of elevated temperature in lateralisation of elasmobranch fishes are unknown. We incubated and reared Port Jackson sharks at current and projected end-of-century temperatures and measured preferential detour responses to left or right. Sharks incubated at elevated temperature showed stronger absolute laterality and were significantly biased towards the right relative to sharks reared at current temperature. We propose that animals reared under elevated temperatures might have more strongly lateralized brains to cope with deleterious effects of climate change on brain development and growth. However, far more research in elasmobranch lateralisation is needed before the significance of these results can be fully comprehended. This study provides further evidence that elasmobranchs are susceptible to the effects of future ocean warming, though behavioral mechanisms might allow animals to compensate for some of the challenges imposed by climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Left Versus Right Asymmetries of Brain and Behaviour)
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Concept Paper
Individual-Level and Population-Level Lateralization: Two Sides of the Same Coin
Symmetry 2018, 10(12), 739; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym10120739 - 11 Dec 2018
Cited by 45 | Viewed by 2267
Abstract
Lateralization, i.e., the different functional roles played by the left and right sides of the brain, is expressed in two main ways: (1) in single individuals, regardless of a common direction (bias) in the population (aka individual-level lateralization); or (2) in single individuals [...] Read more.
Lateralization, i.e., the different functional roles played by the left and right sides of the brain, is expressed in two main ways: (1) in single individuals, regardless of a common direction (bias) in the population (aka individual-level lateralization); or (2) in single individuals and in the same direction in most of them, so that the population is biased (aka population-level lateralization). Indeed, lateralization often occurs at the population-level, with 60–90% of individuals showing the same direction (right or left) of bias, depending on species and tasks. It is usually maintained that lateralization can increase the brain’s efficiency. However, this may explain individual-level lateralization, but not population-level lateralization, for individual brain efficiency is unrelated to the direction of the asymmetry in other individuals. From a theoretical point of view, a possible explanation for population-level lateralization is that it may reflect an evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) that can develop when individually asymmetrical organisms are under specific selective pressures to coordinate their behavior with that of other asymmetrical organisms. This prediction has been sometimes misunderstood as it is equated with the idea that population-level lateralization should only be present in social species. However, population-level asymmetries have been observed in aggressive and mating displays in so-called “solitary” insects, suggesting that engagement in specific inter-individual interactions rather than “sociality” per se may promote population-level lateralization. Here, we clarify that the nature of inter-individuals interaction can generate evolutionarily stable strategies of lateralization at the individual- or population-level, depending on ecological contexts, showing that individual-level and population-level lateralization should be considered as two aspects of the same continuum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Left Versus Right Asymmetries of Brain and Behaviour)
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