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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Nov 13;109(46):18661-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1216402109. Epub 2012 Oct 29.

Dynamic network structure of interhemispheric coordination.

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Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA.


Fifty years ago Gazzaniga and coworkers published a seminal article that discussed the separate roles of the cerebral hemispheres in humans. Today, the study of interhemispheric communication is facilitated by a battery of novel data analysis techniques drawn from across disciplinary boundaries, including dynamic systems theory and network theory. These techniques enable the characterization of dynamic changes in the brain's functional connectivity, thereby providing an unprecedented means of decoding interhemispheric communication. Here, we illustrate the use of these techniques to examine interhemispheric coordination in healthy human participants performing a split visual field experiment in which they process lexical stimuli. We find that interhemispheric coordination is greater when lexical information is introduced to the right hemisphere and must subsequently be transferred to the left hemisphere for language processing than when it is directly introduced to the language-dominant (left) hemisphere. Further, we find that putative functional modules defined by coherent interhemispheric coordination come online in a transient manner, highlighting the underlying dynamic nature of brain communication. Our work illustrates that recently developed dynamic, network-based analysis techniques can provide novel and previously unapproachable insights into the role of interhemispheric coordination in cognition.

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