Is there a sex difference in human laterality? II. An exhaustive survey of visual laterality studies from six neuropsychology journals

J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 1995 Aug;17(4):590-610. doi: 10.1080/01688639508405148.


The contents of six neuropsychology journals (98 volumes, 368 issues) were screened to identify visual half-field (VHF) experiments. Of the 516 experiments identified, 42% provided information about sex differences. Sixty-eight experiments yielded a total of 92 sex differences, 23 of which met stringent criteria for sex differences in laterality. Of the 20 sex differences satisfying stringent criteria and lending themselves to interpretation in terms of the differential lateralization hypothesis, 17 supported the hypothesis of greater hemispheric specialization in males than in females. The 17 confirmatory outcomes represent 7.8% of the informative experiments. When less stringent criteria were invoked, 27 outcomes (12.3% of the informative experiments) were found to be consistent with the differential lateralization hypothesis. Six findings were contrary to the hypothesis. The results, which closely resemble results for auditory laterality studies, are compatible with a population-level sex difference that accounts for 1 to 2% of the variance in laterality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Auditory Perception
  • Child
  • Dominance, Cerebral
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Visual Perception*