Attention modulates hemispheric differences in functional connectivity: evidence from MEG recordings

Liselotte Gootjes, Anke Bouma, Jan W Van Strien, Philip Scheltens, Cornelis J Stam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The present study examined intrahemispheric functional connectivity during rest and dichotic listening in 8 male and 9 female healthy young adults measured with magnetoencephalography (MEG). Generalized synchronization within the separate hemispheres was estimated by means of the synchronization likelihood that is sensitive to linear as well as non-linear coupling of MEG signals. We found higher functional intrahemispheric connectivity of frontal and temporal areas within the right as compared to the left hemisphere in the lower and higher theta band during rest and in the lower theta band during dichotic listening. In addition, higher synchronization in the lower theta band correlated with better task performance. In the upper alpha band, hemispheric differences in intrahemispheric connectivity of the frontal regions were found to be modulated by focused attention instructions. That is, attention to the right ear exaggerates the pattern of higher synchronization likelihood for the right frontal region, while attention to the left ear has an opposite effect. We found higher intrahemispheric connectivity in males compared to females as shown by higher synchronization in the lower alpha band. Taken together, our results reflect a physiological basis for functional hemispheric laterality and support the general assumption of sex differences in brain organization. Furthermore, in addition to studies that show that controlled attention processes modulate activation of the frontal areas, our study indicates that attention modulates ipsilateral functional connectivity in the frontal areas. This supports the idea of a supervisory role for the frontal cortex in attention processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-53
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Alpha Rhythm
  • Attention/physiology
  • Auditory Cortex/physiology
  • Auditory Pathways/physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex/physiology
  • Cortical Synchronization
  • Dichotic Listening Tests
  • Dominance, Cerebral/physiology
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe/physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Male
  • Mental Recall/physiology
  • Serial Learning/physiology
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Speech Perception/physiology
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Temporal Lobe/physiology
  • Theta Rhythm

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