According to our earlier results, non-painful, weak afferent visceral signals may exert a steady influence on brain processes, including cognitive functions. In the present series colonic impulses of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) subjects served as a model of chronic impact from the gut. Hemispheric preference, as well as cognitive style of information processing served as indicators of covert changes in brain functions. In twenty-one IBS patients and in ten control subjects of both sexes, the thresholds of minimal colonic distension sensitivity has been measured following the determination of hemispheric preference and of advantage in verbal or spatial information processing of the subjects. In IBS patients distension thresholds proved to be higher in verbals than in spatials, whereas in healthy controls the relationship of colonic thresholds and verbal versus spatial advantage was reversed. Among the normal controls with left hemisphere preference a significantly higher distension threshold has been observed than in those with right hemisphere preference, whereas in the IBS group such threshold-differences were not observable.