Right cerebral hemisphere: parts, features and functions

The belief that the cerebral hemispheres differ in their characteristics is widespread in popular culture.

The right hemisphere has traditionally been associated with the artistic, While the left hemisphere is considered more analytical, involved in aspects such as mathematics and verbal language.

While many atrocities have been said about what each hemisphere does, the truth is that the two brain structures differ in their characteristics and functions.

In this article we will talk about the right cerebral hemisphere, What are its most notable characteristics and functions, in addition to describing a syndrome related to this structure and its symptoms.

    What is a hemisphere of the brain?

    Before going into more detail on the peculiarities of the right hemisphere, we must first explain what is a cerebral hemisphere and what role it plays in the nervous system human being.

    The word hemisphere comes from the Greek words “hemi” (“half”) and “Sphera” (“sphere”) and, when we talk about the cerebral hemispheres, we are referring to each of the two main parts that make up the brain.

    The hemispheres are inverse to each other, but not inversely symmetrical. These structures are separated by a line called the interhemispheric slit, And that is why we are talking about left and right hemispheres. In the deepest part of this slit is the corpus callosum which connects the two hemispheres.

    How is the right cerebral hemisphere structured?

    The right cerebral hemisphere makes up the upper and right half of the brain. This structure, like its left counterpart, covers half of the five large brain lobes:

    • frontal lobe
    • parietal lobe
    • temporal lobe
    • occipital lobe
    • insula

    As we have already mentioned, the two hemispheres are separated by the interhemispheric slit, also called the longitudinal cerebral slit. In the deepest part of this slit is the corpus callosum, Structure of nerve fibers that connects the two hemispheres. Since the two hemispheres need to share information all the time, the corpus callosum is a structure that performs a great function.

    Like other brain structures, the right hemisphere is protected by three layers:

    • Duramadre: Membrane more external and close to the skull, allows the brain to be well connected to the bone.
    • Arachnoids: Between the dura mater and the pajamas.
    • Piamadre: Internal membrane, adjacent to brain matter.


    Although structurally similar to the left hemisphere, the right hemisphere has different characteristics. The left hemisphere is considered the most analytical, while the right is credited with more creative functionality. Below we will see in more detail what are the most representative characteristics of the right hemisphere of the brain:

    1. Musical

    Playing an instrument, accurately identifying which note is heard, or quickly learning the rhythm of a melody are aspects of the right hemisphere.

    2. Synthetic

    That the right hemisphere has a synthetic way of processing it allows hypotheses to be postulated and ideas to be proposed, With the intention of opposing them, see if they are true or not and, if not, raise new ones.

    The generation of new thoughts does not necessarily have to be linked to the veracity of a fact. Something new can be posed simply with the intention of being original.

    3. Non-verbal

    To say that the right hemisphere is a structure which is not involved in language is not entirely true. This human ability involves multiple areas of the brain, some of which are on the right side. However, verbal aspects such as speaking and literacy are more typical of the left hemisphere.

    In the right hemisphere it occurs the ability to be able to analyze these non-verbal aspects of language, Such as facial gestures.

      4. Holistic

      The right treatment for the right hemisphere is that of take a broad view of a problem, rather than choosing to analyze each detail in depth that make it up.

      Thus, it analyzes a specific stimulus in an integrated and comprehensive manner. For this reason, the right hemisphere is the structure behind, for the most part, artistic and innovative processes.

      5. Geometric-spatial

      Finally, the geometric and spatial skills of the right hemisphere presuppose the most remarkable cognitive capacities of this structure.

      Thanks to this, it is possible to order the space, generate mental images or build geometric structures.

        the functions

        In connection with the characteristics mentioned above, the right hemisphere is able to conceive strategies in the broad sense, integrating the details that make up a situation or problem, and allowing a holistic view of what is happening. Thus, it is possible to see images, hear sounds and perceive smells as a whole.

        1. Spatial orientation

        Thanks to the right hemisphere, it is possible to orient oneself in physical space. Allows you to know what object you are seeing or where you are located from aspects such as color, shape or other characteristics present in the environment.

        Position yourself in space, identify objects, recognize the faces of loved ones are just a few of the capabilities offered by the spatial capability of this hemisphere.

        2. Processing of stimuli

        In short, each cerebral hemisphere is responsible for processing and processing stimuli picked up in its opposite hemisphere (half of the body). The right hemisphere is responsible for “feeling” the stimuli that have been given to the left side of the body.

        So, when we touch something with our left hand, it would be the right hemisphere that would be in charge of processing the associated sensation.

        3. Emotionalism and non-verbal aspects

        The right hemisphere acquires an important role with regard to working out feelings.

        In addition, when analyzing them, he opts for more integrative rather than analytical tools, unlike his counterpart, the left hemisphere.

        On the other hand, he is able to identify non-verbal aspects such as prosody in language (tone of speech, expressiveness …).

          Right hemisphere syndrome

          Sometimes one of the hemispheres suffers an injury. These injuries involve an impairment of the cognitive abilities of the person, which can cause more or less discomfort after having suffered the accident. Right hemisphere syndrome is a neurological condition in which the white matter of this brain structure has been damaged. It can also be due to injuries in the pathways connected to the left hemisphere.

          In most people, the right hemisphere is usually the least dominant hemisphere. As we mentioned above, this structure exhibits the characteristics that are more related to non-verbal communication. Thus, an injury in this hemisphere causes problems such as difficulties in interpreting facial gestures and postural variations.

          With the facial expression, people indicate whether we are happy, angry, sad, or disgusted by something in a very clear way. Postures are more subtle forms of emotional expression and can indicate discomfort, nervousness, or a defensive attitude. Although useful, verbalized language does not fully communicate people’s feelings, May even indicate the opposite (for example, when you say you are not nervous but your legs are shaking).

          For reasons like these, right hemisphere syndrome has an impact important on the person’s life because it makes emotional recognition difficult. In addition, it also implies not being able to express feelings in emotional and non-verbal language, which implies a clear affectation in social life.

          Bibliographical references:

          • Acosta MT (2000). Right hemisphere syndrome in children: functional correlation and maturation of nonverbal learning disabilities. Rev Neurol; 31: 360-7.
          • Anderson, B .; Rutledge, V. (1996). Effects of age and hemisphere on dendritic structure. Brain. 119: 1983-1990.
          • Hutsler, J .; Galuske, RAW (2003). Hemispherical asymmetries in the cerebral cortical networks. Trends in neuroscience. 26 (8): 429-435.

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