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See detailIs human face recognition lateralized to the right hemisphere due to neural competition with left‑lateralized visual word recognition? A critical review
Rossion, Bruno; Lochy, Aliette UL

in Brain Structure and Function (2021)

The right hemispheric lateralization of face recognition, which is well documented and appears to be specific to the human species, remains a scientific mystery. According to a long-standing view, the ... [more ▼]

The right hemispheric lateralization of face recognition, which is well documented and appears to be specific to the human species, remains a scientific mystery. According to a long-standing view, the evolution of language, which is typically substantiated in the left hemisphere, competes with the cortical space in that hemisphere available for visuospatial processes, including face recognition. Over the last decade, a specific hypothesis derived from this view according to which neural competition in the left ventral occipito-temporal cortex with selective representations of letter strings causes right hemispheric lateralization of face recognition, has generated considerable interest and research in the scientific community. Here, a systematic review of studies performed in various populations (infants, children, literate and illiterate adults, left-handed adults) and methodologies (behavior, lesion studies, (intra)electroencephalography, neuroimaging) offers little if any support for this reading lateralized neural competition hypothesis. Specifically, right-lateralized face-selective neural activity already emerges at a few months of age, well before reading acquisition. Moreover, consistent evidence of face recognition performance and its right hemispheric lateralization being modulated by literacy level during development or at adulthood is lacking. Given the absence of solid alternative hypotheses and the key role of neural competition in the sensory–motor cortices for selectivity of representations, learning, and plasticity, a revised language-related neural competition hypothesis for the right hemispheric lateralization of face recognition should be further explored in future research, albeit with substantial conceptual clarification and advances in methodological rigor. [less ▲]

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See detailPolygenic scores for handedness and their association with asymmetries in brain structure
Ocklenburg, Sebastian; Metzen, Dorothea; Schlüter, Caroline et al

in Brain Structure and Function (2021)

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