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Durham University


Hemispheric specialisation and interaction

Functional cerebral asymmetries (FCAs) constitute a basic principle of human brain organisation. Instead of simply allocating psychological functions to either the left or right cerebral hemispheres, our laterality research focuses more on the interaction between the left and right hemisphere. For example, Dr. Hausmann used fMRI to investigate the functional connectivity between both hemispheres. The research suggests that FCAs are generated by interhemispheric inhibition of the dominant on the non-dominant hemisphere. Our research also revealed that FCAs and interhemispheric interaction are less stable than originally assumed and can dynamically change within relative short-term periods, for example due to changes in emotional states or following hormonal fluctuations across the menstrual cycle or after hormone therapy. These findings contribute to the understanding of individual differences in FCAs and functional brain organization in general. We are also interested in atypical FCAs frequently observed in specific neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g. ADHD, developmental dyslexia, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia), and whether atypical FCAs can be understood as a trait characteristic and/or risk factor of these disorders