Reliability of a novel paradigm for determining hemispheric lateralization of visuospatial function.
Whitehouse AJO., Badcock N., Groen MA., Bishop DVM.
In most individuals, language production and visuospatial skills are subserved predominantly by the left and right hemispheres, respectively. Functional Transcranial Doppler (fTCD) provides a noninvasive and relatively low-cost method for measuring functional lateralization. However, while the silent word generation task provides an accurate and reliable paradigm for investigating lateralization of language production, there is no comparable gold-standard method for measuring visuospatial skills. Thirty undergraduate students (19 females) completed a task of spatial memory while undergoing fTCD recording. Participants completed this task at two different time points, separated by between 26 to 155 days. The relative activation between hemispheres averaged across all participants was found to be consistent across testing sessions. This was observed at the individual level also, with a quantitative index of lateralization showing high reproducibility. These findings indicate that the use of the spatial memory task with fTCD is a robust methodology for examining laterality of visuospatial skills.