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Neurosci Lett. 2008 Jan 3;430(1):43-7. Epub 2007 Oct 26.

Cerebral laterality differences in handedness: a mental rotation study with NIRS.

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Department of Occupational Therapy, International University of Health and Welfare, 2600-1 Kitakanemaru, Ohtawara 324-8501, Japan.


Spatial cognition is right-hemisphere dominant in right-handers, but hemispheric laterality in left-handers is not fully understood. Using near-infrared spectroscopy, we compared cerebral activations in the frontal and parietal lobes during a mental rotation task between seven healthy right-handed and seven healthy left-handed women. Cerebral laterality during the spatial cognition task was evaluated as balance in the extent of activation areas between the two cerebral hemispheres, using the right-hemispheric dominance index (RI). RIs of right-handers showed right-hemispheric dominance (RI>0) in both frontal (RI=0.31+/-0.25) and parietal (RI=0.28+/-0.37) lobes, while left-handers showed slight left-hemispheric dominance (RI<0) in both frontal (RI=-0.13+/-0.18) and parietal (RI=-0.22+/-0.22) lobes. The left-handers exhibited significantly larger amplitudes of activation at the channels overlying the left-superior parietal lobule, whereas the right-handers did not show such amplitude differences. These findings suggest a difference in cerebral hemispheric laterality for spatial cognition between left- and right-handers.

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