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.
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