Revisiting human hemispheric specialization with neuroimaging

Trends Cogn Sci. 2013 Feb;17(2):69-80. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2012.12.004. Epub 2013 Jan 11.


Hemispheric specialization (HS) is a hemisphere-dependent relationship between a cognitive, sensory, or motor function and a set of brain structures. It includes both the hosting by a given hemisphere of specialized networks that have unique functional properties and mechanisms that enable the inter-hemispheric coordination necessary for efficient processing. Long derived from neuropsychological and behavioral observations, knowledge of HS is currently being profoundly modified by cutting-edge neuroimaging research that focuses both on the neural implementation of HS for language, visuospatial functions, and motor control/handedness across development and on the analysis of interactions between brain regions within and across hemispheres. New findings reveal the fundamental role of lateralization in the large-scale architecture of the human brain, whose ontogenesis has begun to be investigated with genetic-heritability brain mapping.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Movement / physiology
  • Neuroimaging*
  • Sensation / physiology