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Functional lateralisation is a fundamental principle of the human brain. However, a comprehensive taxonomy of functional lateralisation and its organisation in the brain is missing. Here, we report the first complete map of functional hemispheric asymmetries in the human brain, reveal its low dimensional structure, and its relationship with structural inter-hemispheric connectivity. Our results suggest that the lateralisation of brain functions is distributed along four functional axes: symbolic communication, perception/action, emotion, and decision-making. The similarity between this finding and recent work on neurological symptoms give rise to new hypotheses on the mechanisms that support brain recovery after a brain lesion. We also report that cortical regions showing asymmetries in task-evoked activity have reduced connections with the opposite hemisphere. This latter result suggests that during evolution, brain size expansion led to functional lateralisation to avoid excessive conduction delays between the hemispheres.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Brain Mapping, Corpus Callosum, Dominance, Cerebral, Functional Laterality, Humans, Multivariate Analysis, Nerve Net