Anatomical-behavioral relationships: corpus callosum morphometry and hemispheric specialization

Behav Brain Res. 1994 Oct 20;64(1-2):185-202. doi: 10.1016/0166-4328(94)90131-7.


We obtained midsagittal measures of the corpus callosum in 60 healthy young adults (right-handed and left-handed males and females), and examined whether individual differences in anatomical measures of callosal connectivity are related to behavioral laterality measures in the same subjects. In an attempt to tap functionally-distinct callosal "channels", four behavioral laterality tasks were used that differed in sensory modality (visual, auditory, tactile) and/or level of cognitive processing (sensory versus semantic). In addition, the tasks had both intrahemispheric and interhemispheric conditions. Sex differences were found for measures of the posterior body (i.e. isthmus) of the corpus callosum, which, in turn, interacted with handedness. In contrast, only handedness effects were found for the behavioral laterality measures. Anatomical-behavioral correlations did not disclose relationships between callosal size and performance on task conditions requiring sensory interhemispheric integration or transfer. Instead, the correlational findings are consistent with the view that the corpus callosum participates in such higher order "control" functions as the support of bilateral representation of language, functional interhemispheric inhibition, and the maintenance of hemispheric differences in arousal. This is consistent with the finding that regional callosal size is related to the number of small diameter fibers, which are presumed to interconnect homologous association cortices in the two hemispheres.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Corpus Callosum / anatomy & histology
  • Corpus Callosum / physiology*
  • Dichotic Listening Tests
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Paired-Associate Learning / physiology
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Speech Perception / physiology
  • Surface Properties
  • Touch / physiology