Demographic Profile and Brain Dominance Preferences Among Certified Sign Language Interpreters: Implications for Educators

Janice H. Kanda 
California State University – Northridge

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The primary purpose of this study was to identify demographic factors and brain dominance preferences and profiles of a stratified random sample of four hundred (400) certified sign language interpreters. This paper reports the findings of the study and comments on implications for interpreter educators.

Review of Related Literature

Brain Dominance

People have tried to identify the center of man’s consciousness for ages. Researchers learned of the brain’s duality (Levy, 1985) not only in physical symmetry but also in functional asymmetry (Bakan, 1971). Most studies found that the two hemispheres of the brain specialized in what each would process. MacLean presented a model of the triune (three part) brain consisting of the reptilian or visceral brain, the paleomammalian or limbic system, and the neocortex or cerebral brain (Bradshaw, 1990).
Research has shown that language is usually centered in the left hemisphere, that handedness may be related to location oflanguage center, and that individuals within a certain occupation often have similar brain dominance profiles. Further, we know that women tend to be more bilateral in processing information because, due to maturation rate, the corpus callosum develops earlier in girls than in boys.
With these developments, there was a need to develop a manageable way to measure brain preferences in processing information. Herrmann developed a paper and pencil survey which aids in making this determination; this is referred to as the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI). When the results are scored, a brain dominance profile is produced.
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