Hemispheric preference in visuospatial processing: A complementary approach with fMRI and lesion studies

Virginia W.K. Ng, Paul J. Eslinger, Steven C.R. Williams, Michael J. Brammer, Edward T. Bullmore, Christopher M. Andrew, John Suckling, Robin G. Morris, Arthur L. Benton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Historically, the left cerebral hemisphere has been considered specialized for language, whereas the right cerebral hemisphere is aligned with spatial processes. However, studies have called into question adherence to this model and suggested that both hemispheres participate in language and spatial cognition. Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and human brain lesion studies, we determined whether these complementary techniques could clarify issues of hemispheric dominance. Using a modified Benton Judgement of Line Orientation (JLO) test, considered a relatively pure spatial processing task, we found robust and significant (p < 0.0005) bilateral superior parietal lobe activation on fMRI in ten right-handed male adult volunteers. This was corroborated by lesion data in a cohort of 17 patients who showed significant JLO impairments after either right or left parietal lobe damage, with right parietal damage associated with somewhat more severe deficit. Detailed wavelet analysis of the fMRI time-series did, however, reveal a more dominant role of the right parietal lobe in 'kick- starting' the task. To our knowledge, this is a novel way of using fMRI to address functional hemispheric differences in a cognitive task that is known to have bilateral representation. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-86
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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