Image_7_Hemispheric Lateralization of Visuospatial Attention Is Independent of Language Production on Right-Handers: Evidence From Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy.TIF
It is well-established that visuospatial attention is mainly lateralized to the right hemisphere, whereas language production is mainly left-lateralized. However, there is a significant controversy regarding how these two kinds of lateralization interact with each other. The present research used functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to examine whether visuospatial attention is indeed right-lateralized, whereas language production is left-lateralized, and more importantly, whether the extent of lateralization in the visuospatial task is correlated with that in the task involving language. Specifically, fifty-two healthy right-handed participants participated in this study. Multiple-channel fNIRS technique was utilized to record the cerebral hemodynamic changes when participants were engaged in naming objects depicted in pictures (the picture naming task) or judging whether a presented line was bisected correctly (the landmark task). The degree of hemispheric lateralization was quantified according to the activation difference between the left and right hemispheres. We found that the picture-naming task predominantly activated the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) of the left hemisphere. In contrast, the landmark task predominantly activated the inferior parietal sulcus (IPS) and superior parietal lobule (SPL) of the right hemisphere. The quantitative calculation of the laterality index also showed a left-lateralized distribution for the picture-naming task and a right-lateralized distribution for the landmark task. Intriguingly, the correlation analysis revealed no significant correlation between the laterality indices of these two tasks. Our findings support the independent hypothesis, suggesting that different cognitive tasks may engender lateralized processing in the brain, but these lateralized activities may be independent of each other. Meanwhile, we stress the importance of handedness in understanding the relationship between functional asymmetries. Methodologically, we demonstrated the effectiveness of using the multichannel fNIRS technique to investigate the hemispheric specialization of different cognitive tasks and their lateralization relations between different tasks. Our findings and methods may have important implications for future research to explore lateralization-related issues in individuals with neural pathologies.