Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Brief Communications

Reliability of a novel paradigm for determining hemispheric lateralization of visuospatial function

ANDREW J. O. WHITEHOUSEa1a2a3 c1, NICHOLAS BADCOCKa3, MARGRIET A. GROENa3 and DOROTHY V. M. BISHOPa3

a1 Center for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

a2 Neurocognitive Development Unit, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

a3 Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom

Abstract

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. (JINS, 2009, 15, 1028–1032.)

(Received April 16 2009)

(Reviewed July 01 2009)

(Accepted July 02 2009)

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence and reprint requests: Dr. Andrew Whitehouse, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Center for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia, 100 Roberts Road, Subiaco, Western Australia, 6008. E-mail: awhitehouse@ichr.uwa.edu.au

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