The involvement of the right and left hemispheres in mediating language functions has been measured in a variety of ways over the centuries since the relative dominance of the left hemisphere was first known. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) presents a useful non-invasive method of assessing lateralisation that is being increasingly used in clinical practice and research. However, the methods used in the fMRI laterality literature currently are highly variable, making systematic comparisons across studies difficult. Here we consider the different methods of quantifying and classifying laterality that have been used in fMRI studies since 2000, with the aim of determining which give the most robust and reliable measurement. Recommendations are made with a view to informing future research to increase standardisation in fMRI laterality protocols. In particular, the findings reinforce the importance of threshold-independent methods for calculating laterality indices, and the benefits of assessing heterogeneity of language laterality across multiple regions of interest and tasks. This systematic review was registered as a protocol on Open Science Framework: https://osf.io/hyvc4/.
Language, Lateralisation, Systematic review, fMRI