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Schmitz, Judith; Packheiser, Julian; Birnkraut, Tim; Hinz, Nina-Alisa; Friedrich, Patrick; Gunturkun, Onur and Ocklenburg, Sebastian (2019): The neurophysiological correlates of handedness: Insights from the lateralized readiness potential. In: Behavioural Brain Research, Vol. 364: pp. 114-122

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Handedness is the most investigated form of functional hemispheric asymmetries, but its neural correlates remain unclear. Functional imaging studies suggest differences between left- and right-handers in ipsilateral activation during unilateral hand movements, but do not allow for conclusions on the temporal dimension. In the Tapley and Bryden task, subjects have to draw as many dots as possible on a paper within 20 s using either the left or the right hand. We adapted the task for use during EEG in 36 left- and 36 right-handers. Subjects performed a visually guided response task with each trial consisting of eight motor responses. We investigated the lateralized readiness potential (LRP) at the first and last response of the sequence. Overall, increasing complexity of sequences was associated with earlier and less negative LRP peaks. For the last response, right-handers showed more negative LRP peak amplitudes than left-handers. The effect of handedness on LRP peak amplitude in the first response was modulated by task complexity with a more negative LRP peak amplitude in right-handers than left-handers in simple, but not in medium or complex trials. This effect might be due to more symmetrical processing in right-handers with increasing task complexity. These findings complement previous imaging studies and add a new perspective on the relationship between laterality and schizophrenia, associated with less pronounced LRPs and a higher prevalence of left-handedness.

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