Cognitive functions are partially lateralized towards the left or right halve of our brain. This so-called functional asymmetry is prominently expressed in language processes, visuospatial attention, face recognition, and handedness. The observation that the extent of asymmetries differs in healthy people and that the absence or reversal of asymmetries is associated with psychiatric disorders (e.g., autism, schizophrenia) makes it an essential avenue for understanding cognitive functions in health and disease.

Since the second half of the 19th century, researchers strive to understand lateralized functions, their link to psychiatric disorders, and the factors that drive functional asymmetries in the first place. Although these questions are not answered unequivocally, recent advances in our research techniques and theories allow for a better understanding of brain laterality.

In this symposium, we will present some of the more recent efforts in laterality research. Starting with the hereditary and environmental factors, we will present studies on the neurogenetic foundation of hemispheric asymmetries (Sebastian Ocklenburg) and the role of stress in atypical laterality of various disorders (Gesa Berretz). Furthermore, we will discuss novel research settings to enhance ecological validity (Julian Packheiser) and utilize machine learning to overcome the limitations of conventional hemispheric comparisons (Patrick Friedrich). Last, we will present a more encompassing view of visual laterality based on the relationship between left-hemispheric and right-hemispheric processes (Sanne Brederoo).
We will follow up with a discussion about the possibilities and future direction of laterality research.

Zeitfenster der Veranstaltung (1)

Perspectives in neuroscience

Chair(s): Patrick Friedrich (Jülich), Sebastian Ocklenburg (Bochum)

Presenter(s): Sebastian Ocklenburg (Bochum), Gesa Berretz (Bochum), Julian Packheiser (Bochum), Patrick Friedrich (Jülich), Sanne Brederoo (Groningen, Netherlands)