Left Hand Advantage in a Self-Face Recognition Task

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Left Hand Advantage in a Self-Face Recognition Task

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Neuropsychologia 37 (1999) 1421±1425

www.elsevier.com/locate/neuropsychologia

Left hand advantage in a self-face recognition task
Julian Paul Keenan a,*, Bruce McCutcheon b, Stefanie Freund a, Gordon G. Gallup Jr. b, Glenn Sanders b, Alvaro Pascual-Leone a a

Laboratory for Magnetic Brain Stimulation, Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA b Department of Psychology, The State University of New York, The University at Albany, Albany, NY, USA Received 25 August 1998; accepted 1 February 1999

Abstract Subjects were exposed to pictures of self and others (e.g., friend, stranger, and famous people) to determine if there was an advantage in reaction time and accuracy in identifying the self. It was found that upright and inverted self-faces were identi®ed more rapidly than non-self faces when subjects responded with their left hand, which in other tasks has corresponded with contralateral hemispheric dominance. These data suggest that self-recognition may be correlated with neural activity in the right hemisphere, and that the di€erences observed may not be unique to self-face recognition. These results are in agreement with previous research indicating that self-directed awareness is correlated with right prefrontal activity. # 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction The neural correlates of self-awareness, or self-recognition are unknown, though there is evidence that the processing of self-related material may preferentially involve the right hemisphere. In a positron emission tomography (PET) study, Fink et al. [4] presented subjects with various statements either concerning themselves (personal) or not (impersonal). The authors found increased right prefrontal activation during the personal condition. In another PET study [10] large activation occurred in the right frontal cortex during retrieval of autobiographical words as compared with a neutral task....
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