Dynamic changes in brain lateralization correlate with human cognitive performance.

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Wu, Xinran 
Kong, Xiangzhen 
Vatansever, Deniz 
Liu, Zhaowen 
Zhang, Kai 

Hemispheric lateralization constitutes a core architectural principle of human brain organization underlying cognition, often argued to represent a stable, trait-like feature. However, emerging evidence underlines the inherently dynamic nature of brain networks, in which time-resolved alterations in functional lateralization remain uncharted. Integrating dynamic network approaches with the concept of hemispheric laterality, we map the spatiotemporal architecture of whole-brain lateralization in a large sample of high-quality resting-state fMRI data (N = 991, Human Connectome Project). We reveal distinct laterality dynamics across lower-order sensorimotor systems and higher-order associative networks. Specifically, we expose 2 aspects of the laterality dynamics: laterality fluctuations (LF), defined as the standard deviation of laterality time series, and laterality reversal (LR), referring to the number of zero crossings in laterality time series. These 2 measures are associated with moderate and extreme changes in laterality over time, respectively. While LF depict positive association with language function and cognitive flexibility, LR shows a negative association with the same cognitive abilities. These opposing interactions indicate a dynamic balance between intra and interhemispheric communication, i.e., segregation and integration of information across hemispheres. Furthermore, in their time-resolved laterality index, the default mode and language networks correlate negatively with visual/sensorimotor and attention networks, which are linked to better cognitive abilities. Finally, the laterality dynamics are associated with functional connectivity changes of higher-order brain networks and correlate with regional metabolism and structural connectivity. Our results provide insights into the adaptive nature of the lateralized brain and new perspectives for future studies of human cognition, genetics, and brain disorders.


Funder: Information Technology Center of Zhejiang University

Funder: Shanghai Pujiang Program

Brain, Brain Mapping, Cognition, Connectome, Functional Laterality, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging
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PLoS Biol
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Public Library of Science (PLoS)
National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC 61973086, NSFC 91630314, 31950410541, 32171031)
key project of Shanghai Science and Technology (No. 16JC1420402)
Key Technologies Research and Development Program (No. 2018YFC1312900)
Science and Technology Innovation 2030 - Brain Science and Brain-Inspired Intelligence Project (2021ZD0200204)
Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Major Project (No.2018SHZDZX01, 2018SHZDZX01)
Overseas Expertise Introduction Project for Discipline Innovation (No. B18015)
National Institutes of Health (U54 EB020403)
Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2021XZZX006)