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Peer Review

Hemispheric Lateralization: Are You Left- or Right-Brained?

by Michelle Kunz


Overall Numeric Rating:

3.25 stars
Content Quality: 2.75 stars
Effectiveness: 2.75 stars
Ease of Use: 4.25 starsstar
Reviewed: Mar 17, 2013 by Psychology
Overview: The learning takes the form of a webpage with an assignment (which includes an online quiz) related to brain dominance. The title of the assignment is "Hemispheric Lateralization: Are you Left- or Right-brained?" The page includes learning goals, discussion questions, and teaching tips and is part of a larger project entitled "Pedagogy in Action." The Pedagogic Service project is part of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) sponsored by the National Science Foundation and includes a library of pedagogic methods and a collection of activities which exemplify each method. Submitted to the NSDL by Michelle Kunz, professor of marketing at Morehead State University, the material is free and is intended for undergraduate students.
Type of Material: Assignment (This is an activity which includes an online quiz examining brain dominance.)
Recommended Uses: • The author states that this activity is appropriate "in a class lecture covering perception, such as a consumer behavior class. It might also be discussed in an advertising class or unit, and could be used to demonstrate how individuals process information differently....It can also be used at the beginning of a term to help students identify how they learn most effectively. In particular, this could be a great exercise in an online class." • Additional applications might include on-ground freshman orientation courses or study skills courses. Broader adaptations might include psychology, management, and education courses. • Students can complete the assignment in or outside of class, depending upon whether they have access to computers for the brain dominance quiz.
Technical Requirements: The learning material requires an Internet connection and a compatible browser. Tested using Windows 7, Mozilla Firefox (v10.0.2), Internet Explorer (v8.0.7), and Google Chrome (v25.0.1). Compatible with Safari on iPad3 and iPhone4.
Identify Major Learning Goals: As stated on the assignment webpage, the learning goals are as follows. Learners will: • (1) identify their learning style/brain dominance. • (2) investigate how brain dominance influences information processing. • (3) identify differences in information processing, based upon brain dominance.
Target Student Population: The target student population consists of undergraduate students at all levels.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 2.75 stars
Strengths: • The material is designed to promote critical thinking and self-reflection on the part of students. • The material is useful for exploring the subject of individual learning preferences.
Concerns: • The belief that people are right or left brain dominant is widely regarded as a myth by cognitive scientists and neuroscientists. With the exception of language, there is no cognitive activity that is exclusively processed in the right or left hemisphere. Although the assignment links to a webpage that references this "myth," this subject is not expanded or explored. Instructors who use this framework to make a connection with individual learning preferences should be prepared to present a fuller explanation of the right and left hemispheres.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 2.75 stars
Strengths: • The author has done a nice job of providing learning goals, suggestions for use, teaching tips, discussion questions, and references. • The inventory quiz is easy and quick to complete; follow-up terms and interpretive information are provided.
Concerns: • One reviewer found that one of the quizzes on brain dominance (the Hemispheric Dominance Inventory Test by Intelegen, Inc.) was not functioning correctly at the time of the review. • Because the whole concept of left- and right-brain tasks or styles is based on a myth, the activity has the potential to reinforce the mistaken impression that this approach is supported by science. To support the goal of exploring learning styles while also providing background on the left-brain/right-brain myth, instructors should provide explanation about the framework's metaphorical nature.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: • The webpage design and layout are clean and clear-cut. Every part of the activity except the brain dominance quiz itself is available on one webpage.
Concerns: • It is difficult to locate the interactive quiz as it is at the bottom of the webpage (with references and resources) and does not stand out in the assignment although it is the basis for the remainder of the activity and the discussion. • The Pedagogy in Action navigation bar on the left-hand side of the assignment webpage may be distracting for learners (as the navigation bar is not relevant to the assignment). • Several links were broken at the time of the review.