The neuropsychological relationship between brain dominance and cognitive styles of undergraduate students in EKSU, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State,Nigeria.

Research proposal about Neuropsychological relationship between hemisity (brain dominance and asymmetry) and the analytic-creative cognitive styles of undergraduate students in EKSU, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State,Nigeria.        



                  Background of the study

following the neurological findings of the past centuries and decades, there are a lot of progress in the discovery of the complexities of the human brain as these complexities themselves are useful in the explanation of the neurological correlates of human behaviour, that is to say, how the neuronal systems in the brain relates to different behaviours exhibited by man.

    Among these behavioural attributes is the analytic function of the left brain hemisphere while creativity is the function of the right brain hemisphere as earlier theories and experiments have elucidated. But the attempt to justify these processes has however yielded spurious data. Critics argue that such data or findings are not plausible explanations of individual differences.

    Analytical skills are the skills required to reduce complex structures and vague meanings into their simple elements for the purpose of clarity. Thus the analytic individual most often see the trees that make a forest, but not the forest in its whole or entirety. 

This function is associated with the left hemisphere according to the term 'hemisity'. On the other hand, a person who sees the whole forest while pay less attention to the trees and leaves that make up the forest is considered a right brain dominant individual, not left brain dominant as the concept of 'hemisity' would mean.
However, the functions of the right and left brain as specialized and distributed regarding hemisity are not limited to analytic-creative dimension of cognitive style.

   It remains factual in the neuropsychological literature that the discoveries about the human brain are worthwhile to the prediction of human behaviour and as such, habitual ways of thinking, processing, interpreting and perceiving the world. 

These predictions have in so many ways enable neuropsychologists and medical practitioners to determine whatever features or personalities of man that remain consistent and the utmost attempt to reduce whatever implausible explanation that may arise concerning the neurological make up of man. Errors in the explanations have however remain counter-factual and extraneous to plausible explanations and as such a need to boil down explanations to some phenomenon which are sufficient in their own right as accountable to human behaviour.
  In this regard, if many questions could arise about the complexities of human behaviour, cognitive styles, then, no doubt these complexities would in turn be affected from whatever neural connection is there in the brain of such an individual in question.


               Statement of the problem

        The neuropsychological literatures and theories about hemispheric laterality or dominance often is used to refer to the inherent capability of either hemispheres to perform some functions unique to it. Thus, the left hemisphere is considered more analytical, logical, rational, mathematical, linguistic, planner, knowledge based and sequential while the right hemisphere is considered more holistic, creative, imaginative, intuitive, emotional and musical. This has aroused critics for many years. For example, they may argue the fact that the left hemisphere is logical and rational does not mean that the right hemisphere is illogical and irrational. Critics tend to look at this seemingly unrealistic discrepancy without further evaluations. This has however resulted in research problems and these problems. They are the questions that:

i. Will there be any relationship between hemisity and cognitive styles?
ii. If there will be a relationship, will there be any causal link between these two variables (hemisity and cognitive styles)?

iii. Will there be implications on such factors like age, sex, educational qualification or discipline, and religion?

     Aims and objectives of the study
   The purpose of this study will be:

i. To examine the nature of cognitive styles.

ii. To examine the nature of hemisity
iii. To assess the relationship between hemisity and the cognitive styles particularly of the analytic-creative dimension.

iv. To reduce skepticism and strengthen certainty about the actual nature of hemisity and cognitive styles.

v. To determine whether the concept of hemisity is strictly sufficient to explain cognitive styles.

vi. To observe any direct causal relationship between hemisity and cognitive styles

vii. To further examine and observe the cross-cultural validation of the two measuring instruments- Cognitive Style Indicator (CoSI) and Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) such that they will generalize to undergraduates and maybe, Nigerians.

                     Relevance of the study

- This study will be relevant to understand individual differences

- To serve as an Eye-opener to enlighten organizations and industries on how it will be more productive if a particular cognitive styled individual such as a creative entrepreneur is employed or whether to employ a more analytical person.

- To serve as a way to determine the learning style that fits children cognitive styles.

  Scope and limitations of the study

 This study will be carried out in the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria. Although cognitive style covers more than analytic-creative dimension, this study will not digress from its proposed domain in order to reduce complications and verbosity.

This research will eliminate any form of gender bias so that both male and female gender will be appropriately represented. It will reduce religious bias to its bare minimum where Christians and Muslims and if any, traditional religion individuals will be allowed to participate.

                 Literature review

    Delving into previous literature about the study of hemispheric functions and specializations, it is evident from the discovery of Paul Broca (1860s) that the mechanism of speech is the broca area more localized in the left cerebral hemisphere in close association with the frontal lobe following the discovery of Broca aphasia (an inability to speak) resulting from the damage of the broca in his patient's brain. He followed the similar but earlier work of Marc Dax (1836).

Later Karl Wernicke (1874, 1876) discovered the Wernicke's area while damage to this area of the brain cause broca aphasia (inability to understand language).

   As neuroscientists continue to investigate more about the human brain, it was found in the 1960s that the brain mechanism of language mostly involve the left hemisphere through the method called Wada Test by using sodium amytal ( Amobarbital) to put one hemisphere to sleep such that if the left hemisphere is put to sleep, there will be loss of speech.

In the 20th century, researcher,  Roger. W. Sperry (1964, 1981) and Michael Gazzaniga et al. (1962, 1967, 2000) in their split-brain research discovered the hemispheric specialization of speech and visuo-spatial lateralities by cutting the corpus callosum of epileptic seizure patients which was the most popular method of the treatment of such cases in that period. 

However, this method caused serious side effects such as the two hemispheres cannot integrate by the corpus callosum that both hemispheres does not receive and exchange information about what the other hemisphere is doing. As Sperry (1960) described, 'it is like two separate individuals working over a collection of test items with no cooperation between them...two minds in the same body'.

               Theoretical framework
The theoretical framework of this study will center around the existing literature so that a better understanding of the relationship between hemisity and cognitive styles most importantly, the analytic-creative dimension of the left/right brain processes will be garnered. The theories that will be employed in this research are:

- The theory of brain lateralization

- The theory of hemispheric dominance

- The theory of neuroplasticity. Brain and experience.

-  The holographic theory

-  Karl Lashley's principle of mass action and equi-potentiality

There will be a significant relationship between hemisity and analytic-creative cognitive styles of undergraduate students, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria.

 Conceptual distinctions and operational definition of           terms

Analytic: a left brain process of interpretation and perception that enable a person dominant in the left brain hemisphere to break down or reduce complex and vague structures into their simple elements. For example this person will perceive trees and leaves (elements) in the forest but not the forest as a whole or in its entirety. Similarly, Kitchen utensils are first concentrated upon at the first view of it, rather than kitchen in its entirety.

Behavioural laterality style: refers to the differences in the left and right brain thinking and behavioural properties within the two groups of individuals with language dominance (left brain) and non-language dominance (right brain).

Creative: ability to devise a new technique for problem-solving, a function of the right cerebral hemisphere.

Cognitive styles: the habitual, consistent, way an individual perceives, thinks, learns, solves problems, relate to others, organize, process information and experience, arrive at judgment and conclusion based on their observation (Cox, 1977; Messick, 1984; Hunt, Krzystofiak, Meindl, and Yousry(1989).
Functional specialization: is the functions uniquely performed by either of the two hemispheres
Hemisity: is the quantifiable definition which refers to the bias in thinking orientation (cognitive style), behavioural style and laterality resulting from the inherent laterality of one's sole executive observer system within the asymmetric bilateral brain. Thus, depending upon which side "the one and only you" inherently located, one is either a left or a right brain oriented person, based upon laterality of the Anterior Cingulate Cortex.
Hemispheric asymmetry: this means that the two cerebral hemispheres are unbalance in their structures and functions. Sometimes interchanged with hemispheric lateralization

Hemisphericity: that people rely on a preferred mode of cognitive processing that linked to predominant activity of either their left or right cerebral hemisphere. Unlike hemisity, this definition does not allow for quantification but rather remain descriptive.

Hemispheric dominance: that an individual uses a hemisphere more frequently and efficiently than the other.

Hemispheric specialization or specialization of function: a dichotomy or differences in the functions of the left and right cerebral hemispheres. The left hemisphere is associates with being analytical, linguistic, mathematics, rational, logical, sequential, knowledge-oriented, and plan. The right hemisphere is associated being holistic, creative intuitive, imaginative, musical, artful, visuo-spatial, and emotional.

Neuroplasticity: refers to the principle that the brain changes or rewires itself based on experiences. If the structures are changed, then functions have changed and as such, behaviour changes as well.


      Research design:

      Survey research
 This study will use the survey method of research involving the use of valid and reliable self-report questionnaires for data collection.

Ekiti State University undergraduate students

Participants’ selection
Sampling method: purposive sampling
the purposive sampling method will be used for the selection of participants from the eight faculties of the institution including the college of medicine so that flaws of randomization might be reduced and as such, all the desired participants are appropriately represented in the research based on educational qualification, disciplines and sub-disciplines, gender, religion affiliation and whatever relevant procedure may demand.

Sample size: About 180 students will participate in the research including males and females from the Faculty of:
i. Agriculture
ii. Art
iii. Education
iv. Engineering
v. Law
vi. Management sciences
vii. Science
viii. Social sciences
ix. College of medicine
20 students from each faculty all amounting to 180 will participate in the research.

Measuring Instruments
i. Cognitive Style Indicator (CoSI) to measure the cognitive styles (analytic-creative) where the analytic is divided into two: knowing and planning.
Developers: Eva Cool, Karlien Vanderheyden, and Hermann Van Den Broeck(2003, 2007).

Psychometric properties

items correlation higher than .30 (clear minimum threshold) and a clear factor loading higher than .50
The instrument's reliability coefficient calculated from the Cronbach alpha ranges from about 0.72 to 0.93

ii. Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument.
Developer: William Ned Hermann (1994).
This is the world brain dominance assessment tool. Its psychometric properties have been researched for almost ten years by Victor Bunderson who collaborated with Ned Hermann but there is little or no publication about its validity and reliability.
   Method used in validating the instrument is the self-validation by test takers who confirms the tool to be true of their personalities. They may exclaim, 'yes that's me'. This is a way its construct and face validity is being justified for years and as such, still holds valid and reliable since interpretations do correlate with similar measures.

         Prospects of the research

The logic behind the conclusion as to justify any relationship between hemisity and cognitive style is the extent to which the interpretation in the Cognitive Style Indicator(CoSI) correlates with the interpretation obtained from the Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI).

Affiliate disclosure

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