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Neuropsychologia. 1999 Jun;37(7):869-74.

Dichotic listening in patients with situs inversus: brain asymmetry and situs asymmetry.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Kyoto University and Okatani Hospital, Nara, Japan.


In order to investigate the relation between situs asymmetry and functional asymmetry of the human brain, a consonant-vowel syllable dichotic listening test known as the Standard Dichotic Listening Test (SDLT) was administered to nine subjects with situs inversus (SI) that ranged in age from 6 to 46 years old (mean of 21.8 years old, S.D. = 15.6); the four males and five females all exhibited strong right-handedness. The SDLT was also used to study twenty four age-matched normal subjects that were from 6 to 48 years old (mean 21.7 years old, S.D. = 15.3); the twelve males and twelve females were all strongly right-handed and served as a control group. Eight out of the nine subjects (88.9%) with SI more often reproduced the sounds from the right ear than sounds from the left ear; this is called right ear advantage (REA). The ratio of REA in the control group was almost the same, i.e., nineteen out of the twenty-four subjects (79.1%) showed REA. Results of the present study suggest that the left-right reversal in situs inversus does not involve functional asymmetry of the brain. As such, the system that produces functional asymmetry in the human brain must independently recognize laterality from situs asymmetry.

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