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A large-scale investigation of lateralization in cortical anatomy and word reading: are there sex differences?

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The authors report findings of a large-scale, multitask investigation of sex differences in both structural asymmetries and lateralization of word reading. Two hundred participants were tested in eight divided visual field lexical tasks, and each received a structural magnetic resonance imaging scan. The authors examined whether there was evidence for sex differences in overall measures of neuroanatomical and behavioral lateralization, in specific language tasks and brain regions, and in variation in asymmetry within and across tasks and brain regions. There was very little evidence for sex differences on any behavioral measure. The few indications of sex differences in the current report accounted for 2% or less of the individual variation in asymmetry and could not be replicated in independent subsamples. No sex differences were observed in the asymmetry of structures in Broca's and Wernicke's areas such as pars triangularis, pars opercularis, the planum temporale, planum parietale, or Heschl's gyrus. There were also no sex differences in the variability of neuroanatomical asymmetries within or between brain regions. However, a significant relationship between planum temporale and behavioral asymmetry was restricted to men.

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