Hemispheric asymmetry in attention and its impact on our consciousness: A review with reference to altered consciousness in right hemisphere damaged subjects

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Research Article

Publication Title

Journal of Consciousness Studies


Attention and consciousness are two distinct neural processes which are intricately intertwined. However, there is asymmetry in the distribution of attentional abilities across the two hemispheres. The right hemisphere (RH) is asserted to be dominant for attentional abilities. Research suggests that the ventral frontoparietal cortex of the right hemisphere is dominant for exogenous attentional abilities, while the endogenous network is bilaterally distributed. Exogenous attention is phylogenetically more primitive than endogenous attention, and, compared to the left hemisphere (LH), the right hemisphere is more adept at abilities and functions that are of more primitive origin. This review explores the attentional abilities of the mute right hemisphere, the extent to which these may affect consciousness, and whether the unilateral dominance of the exogenous network influences consciousness.

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