Mapping visual dominance in human sleep

Mark McAvoy, Anish Mitra, Enzo Tagliazucchi, Helmut Laufs, Marcus E. Raichle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Sleep is a universal behavior, essential for humans and animals alike to survive. Its importance to a person's physical and mental health cannot be overstated. Although lateralization of function is well established in the lesion, split-brain and task based neuroimaging literature, and more recently in functional imaging studies of spontaneous fluctuations of the fMRI BOLD signal during wakeful rest, it is unknown if these asymmetries are present during sleep. We investigated hemispheric asymmetries in the global brain signal during non-REM sleep. Here we show that increasing sleep depth is accompanied by an increasing rightward asymmetry of regions in visual cortex including primary bilaterally and in the right hemisphere along the lingual gyrus and middle temporal cortex. In addition, left hemisphere language regions largely maintained their leftward asymmetry during sleep. Right hemisphere attention related regions expressed a more complicated relation with some regions maintaining a rightward asymmetry while this was lost in others. These results suggest that asymmetries in the human brain are state dependent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-261
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Global signal
  • Hemispheric asymmetry
  • Language network
  • Lateralization
  • Sleep
  • Visual network


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