Quantifying cerebral asymmetries for language in dextrals and adextrals with random-effects meta analysis

David P. Carey, Leah T. Johnstone

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Speech and language-related functions tend to depend on the left hemisphere more than the right in most right-handed (dextral) participants. This relationship is less clear in non-right handed (adextral) people, resulting in surprisingly polarized opinion on whether or not they are as lateralized as right handers. The present analysis investigates this issue by largely ignoring methodological differences between the different neuroscientific approaches to language lateralization, as well as discrepancies in how dextral and adextral participants were recruited or defined. Here we evaluate the tendency for dextrals to be more left hemisphere dominant than adextrals, using random effects meta analyses. In spite of several limitations, including sample size (in the adextrals in particular), missing details on proportions of groups who show directional effects in many experiments, and so on, the different paradigms all point to proportionally increased left hemispheric dominance in the dextrals. These results are analyzed in light of the theoretical importance of these subtle differences for understanding the cognitive neuroscience of language, as well as the unusual asymmetry in most adextrals.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2014

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