Two halves better than one: Why our brain evolved to be symmetrical

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The human brain evolved to have two halves — and a new review of previous research suggests that this dual design may confer special benefits.

One of these benefits is that having a specific area of the brain that’s responsible for performing a specific, complex task may make it easier for a person to perform this task well, the reviewers found.

In addition, this specialization could make it easier for the brain to perform many different functions at once, they said. In other words, if one part of the brain is taking care of one specific function such as language and speech, then another part remains free to take care of something else, such as facial recognition. This may in turn allow the brain to juggle these different functions more efficiently.

“Only a decade ago, most scientists believed that brain asymmetries [were] unique to humans or are at least especially pronounced in our species,” said lead review author Onur Güntürkün, a neuroscientist at Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany. “This is wrong.”

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