The ontogenesis of language lateralization and its relation to handedness

Sebastian Ocklenburg, Christian Beste, Larissa Arning, Jutta Peterburs, Onur Güntürkün

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Dominance of the left hemisphere for many aspects of speech production and perception is one of the best known examples of functional hemispheric asymmetries in the human brain. Classic theories about its ontogenesis assume that it is determined by the same ontogenetic factors as handedness because the two traits are correlated to some extent. However, the strength of this correlation depends on the measures used to assess the two traits, and the neurophysiological basis of language lateralization is different from that of handedness. Therefore, we argue that although the two traits show partial pleiotropy, there is also a substantial amount of independent ontogenetic influences for each of them. This view is supported by several recent genetic and neuroscientific studies that are reviewed in the present article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-198
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Functional Hemispheric asymmetries
  • Laterality
  • Lateralization
  • Ontogenesis
  • Speech

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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