Gender-related differences in lateralization of hippocampal activation and cognitive strategy

Neuroreport. 2006 Mar 20;17(4):417-21. doi: 10.1097/01.wnr.0000203623.02082.e3.


Gender-related differences in brain activation patterns and their lateralization associated with cognitive functions have been reported in the field of language, emotion, and working memory. Differences have been hypothesized to be due to different cognitive strategies. The aim of the present study was to test whether lateralization of brain activation in the hippocampi during memory processing differs between the sexes. We acquired functional magnetic resonance imaging data from healthy female and male study participants performing a spatial memory task and quantitatively assessed the lateralization of hippocampal activation in each participant. Hippocampal activation was significantly more left lateralized in women, and more right lateralized in men. Correspondingly, women rated their strategy as being more verbal than men did.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Space Perception / physiology
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Verbal Behavior / physiology