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How the brain chooses sides

Researchers probe the neural basis of deciding which hand to use

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1:24pm, September 28, 2010

The brain almost always has a plan B, even when deciding which hand to use to press a button, a new study finds.

A part of the brain called the left posterior parietal cortex plans button-pressing movements for both hands simultaneously, shows the study, published online September 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. After a very brief neural tussle, one hand wins the competition and the other’s movement is suppressed, Flavio Oliveira, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues demonstrate.

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