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The Influence of Communication on Physiology and Health

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Edited By James M. Honeycutt, Chris R. Sawyer and Shaughan Keaton

There is a significant amount of research that substantiates the connection between social support/relationships and the development, onset, and/or recovery of several physical diseases/illnesses. Research has shown, for example, that an unhappy marriage can increase the likelihood of becoming ill by 35% while stressful communication can lead to an increase in cardiovascular reactivity which in turn increases the risk of coronary heart disease and premature mortality.
This volume provides a comprehensive overview of the influences of communication on physiology and physical health status occurring in a variety of contexts, from families, interpersonal relationships, and public speaking to sport fandom, affection, fear, and the escalation of conflict. It offers a broad and up-to-date review of the relevant literature in this area of study.
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Section 3: Neurological Studies

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Chapter 9

Asymmetry in the Brain: Communication, Personality, and Health

Alan D. Heisel

False dichotomies are common when scientific principles are translated into popular culture and, given the complexity of the human brain, it is not surprising that many widely held beliefs are only partly true. Most readers will be familiar with the idea of left-brain/right-brain dominance, but are people really left-brained or right-brained? According to the stereotype, someone who is left-brain dominant will be logical, analytical, and reserved, while a person who is right-brain dominant would be artistic, creative, and spontaneous. While there is some evidence to support such a characterization of brain lateralization, it is insufficient to support the stereotype.

Only a basic knowledge of neuroanatomy is required to know that the brain is divided into two hemispheres. These hemispheres are largely symmetrical in terms of structure and function, but there are a number of important exceptions. For example, research has demonstrated highly stable patterns of language function to be localized in the left hemisphere. The two structural elements most commonly associated with language functions in the brain are Broca’s area, which plays a key role in speech production and Wernicke’s area, which affects linguistic comprehension. Broca’s area ← 171 | 172 → reflects an expressive language function whereas Wernicke’s area performs a receptive language function.

Structural and functional specializations can be differentiated using hemispheric lateralization, but many cognitive functions of the brain are bilateral, meaning that...

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