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Sex hormones affect language lateralisation but not cognitive control in normally cycling women.

Hodgetts, S. and Weis, S. and Hausmann, M. (2015) 'Sex hormones affect language lateralisation but not cognitive control in normally cycling women.', Hormones and behavior., 74 . pp. 194-200.


Natural fluctuations of sex hormones during the menstrual cycle have been shown to modulate language lateralisation. Using the dichotic listening (DL) paradigm, a well-established measurement of language lateralisation, several studies revealed that the left hemispheric language dominance was stronger when levels of estradiol were high. A recent study (Hjelmervik et al., 2012) showed, however, that high levels of follicular estradiol increased lateralisation only in a condition that required participants to cognitively control (top-down) the stimulus-driven (bottom-up) response. This finding suggested that sex hormones modulate lateralisation only if cognitive control demands are high. The present study investigated language lateralisation in 73 normally cycling women under three attention conditions that differed in cognitive control demands. Saliva estradiol and progesterone levels were determined by luminescence immunoassays. Women were allocated to a high or low estradiol group. The results showed a reduced language lateralisation when estradiol and progesterone levels were high. The effect was independent of the attention condition indicating that estradiol marginally affected cognitive control. The findings might suggest that high levels of estradiol especially reduce the stimulus-driven (bottom-up) aspect of lateralisation rather than top-down cognitive control.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Estradiol, Progesterone, Language lateralisation, Dichotic listening, Cognitive control.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Hormones and behavior. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Hormones and behavior, 74, August 2015, 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2015.06.019
Date accepted:29 June 2015
Date deposited:07 July 2015
Date of first online publication:03 July 2015
Date first made open access:03 July 2016

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