Send to

Choose Destination
Laterality. 2014;19(1):64-95. doi: 10.1080/1357650X.2013.772621. Epub 2013 Mar 12.

Autism, lateralisation, and handedness: a review of the literature and meta-analysis.

Author information

a Department of Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology , Emory University , Atlanta , GA , USA.


A number of recent investigators have hypothesised a link between autism, left-handedness, and brain laterality. Their findings have varied widely, in part because these studies have relied on different methodologies and definitions. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the literature, with the hypothesis that there would be an association between autism and laterality that would be moderated by handedness, sex, age, brain region studied, and level of autism. From a broad search resulting in 259 papers, 54 were identified for inclusion in the literature review. This list was narrowed further to include only studies reporting results in the inferior frontal gyrus for meta-analysis, resulting in four papers. The meta-analysis found a moderate but non-significant effect size of group on lateralisation, suggesting a decrease in strength of lateralisation in the autistic group, a trend supported by the literature review. A subgroup analysis of sex and a meta-regression of handedness showed that these moderating variables did not have a significant effect on this relationship. Although the results are not conclusive, there appears to be a trend towards a relationship between autism and lateralisation. However, more rigorous studies with better controls and clearer reporting of definitions and results are needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center