Patterns of language and visuospatial functional lateralization and cognitive ability: a systematic review

Josephine E. Quin-Conroy, Donna M. Bayliss, Sabrina G. Daniell, Nicholas A. Badcock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

For most individuals, language is predominately localized to the left hemisphere of the brain and visuospatial processing to the right. This is the typical pattern of functional lateralization. Evolutionary theories of lateralization suggest that the typical pattern is most common as it delivers a cognitive advantage. In contrast, deviations from the typical pattern may lead to poorer cognitive abilities. The aim of this systematic review was to assess the evidence for an association between patterns of language and visuospatial lateralization and measures of cognitive ability. We screened 9,122 studies, retrieved from PsycINFO, EMBASE, MEDLINE, PubMed, and Web of Science. The 17 studies that met our selection criteria revealed little evidence for an advantage of typical compared to atypical patterns of lateralization, although atypical lateralization patterns were related to worse language comprehension, spatial ability, and reading, but further research is needed to confirm this. We conclude with recommendations that future researchers recruit larger samples of atypical participants, and consider strength of lateraliation and bilaterality when analysing functional lateralization patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-96
Number of pages34
JournalLaterality
Volume29
Issue number1
Early online date28 Sept 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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