Hemispheric asymmetry and homotopy of resting state functional connectivity correlate with visuospatial abilities in school-age children

Neuroimage. 2018 Jul 1:174:441-448. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.03.051. Epub 2018 Mar 26.


Hemispheric specialization of cognitive functions is a developmental process that shapes the brain from the gestational stage to adulthood. Functional connectivity of the resting brain has been largely used to infer the hemispheric organization of the spontaneous brain activity. In particular, two main properties have been largely explored throughout development: hemispheric asymmetry of functional connectivity and homotopic functional connectivity. However, their relation with specific cognitive processes typically associated with hemispheric specialization, such as visuospatial abilities, remains largely unexplored. Such relationships could be particularly relevant for the quest of developmental cognitive biomarkers in childhood, a significant maturation period of visuospatial abilities. Moreover, the relation between asymmetry and homotopy of brain functional connectivity is not well understood. We have examined these two properties in a sample of 60 typically developing children between 6 and 10 years of age, and explored their relation with visuospatial abilities. First, we identified a strong negative relation between homotopy and asymmetry across the brain. In addition, these properties showed areas in the posterior portion of the brain, with significant correlation with performance in visual memory and visual attention tasks. These results highlight the relevance of the hemispheric organization of spontaneous brain activity for developmental cognition, particularly for visuospatial abilities.

Keywords: Attention; Development; Hemispheric specialization; Memory; Resting state functional connectivity; Visuospatial abilities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebrum / physiology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*