Hemispheric and Autonomic Laterality: Effects of Unilateral Repetitive Activation

The following is the complete biofeedback study conducted at Nova University.  The Adagio Flow Machine was a key element in this study.  The results were  highly significant; viewing the Adagio reduces the stress response in the viewer through right brain hemisphere repetitive activation.   



The purpose of the study was to compare the ability of the left and right hemispheres of the human brain to control autonomic variables. The variable of interest was the amounts of time to recover from startle induced elevation in bilateral skin conductance levels and heart rate. The methodo1ogy used, called Unilateral Repetitive Activation, is based on a hypothesis which suggests a decrease in contralateral interference when one hemisphere is repeatedly presented with information known to be processed more efficiently in that hemisphere. One group of 24 right handed adult female subjects received right hemisphere activation by watching a moving light line produced by a kinescope and by listening to music. A second matched group of 23 received left hemisphere activation by reading from a screen and listening to a tape of the readings. Results showed that the right hemisphere activation group recovered faster suggesting that the left hemisphere dominated autonomic control.


A second purpose of the study was to evaluate effects of hemisphere activation on verbal and spatial task performance. After six 45 minute sessions of left or right hemisphere activation, subjects were given three verbal and three spatial tasks.  No significant differences were found between the groups. 


Additional analysis suggested a probable relationship between the left hemisphere and the sympathetic nervous system and a possible relationship between the right hemisphere and the parasympathetic nervous system. 


Implications were discussed in terms of relationship to stress related disorders and application to education and psychotherapy.