Mind your left: Spatial bias in subcortical fear processing

Tali Siman-Tov, David Papo, Natan Gadoth, Tom Schonberg, Avi Mendelsohn, Daniella Perry, Talma Hendler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Hemispheric lateralization of emotional processing has long been suggested, but its underlying neural mechanisms have not yet been defined. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging study, facial expressions were presented to 10 right-handed healthy adult females in an event-related visual halffield presentation paradigm. Differential activations to fearful versus neutral faces were observed in the amygdala, pulvinar, and superior colliculus only for faces presented in the left hemifield. Interestingly, the left hemifield advantage for fear processing was observed in both hemispheres. These results suggest a leftward bias in subcortical fear processing, consistent with the well-documented leftward bias of danger-associated behaviors in animals. The current finding highlights the importance of hemifield advantage in emotional lateralization, which might reflect the combination of hemispheric dominance and asymmetric interhemispheric information transfer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1782-1789
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009


FundersFunder number
Israel Ministry of Science, Culture & Sport, Merkava program
United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation
Israel Science Foundation


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