Hemispheric lateralization of attention processes in the human brain.


Inserm U 1127, CNRS UMR 7225, Sorbonne Université, Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière, ICM, Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, 75013 Paris, France. Electronic address: [Email]


We review recent evidence for the hemispheric lateralization of attentional systems in the human brain. There is abundant anatomical, neuroimaging, and neuromodulatory evidence for a relative lateralization toward the right hemisphere of some of the cortical networks supporting the attentional systems, especially those including the temporo-parietal junction and the ventro-lateral prefrontal cortex. Damage or disconnection of these right-lateralized nodes may produce severe deficits of spatial and nonspatial attention, as in visual neglect, or of inhibitory control. Finally, we examine the possibility that some of these hemispheric asymmetries are not only exclusive to the human brain, but may also be instrumental in prioritizing information in non-human animals.

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