Activations in gray and white matter are modulated by uni-manual responses during within and inter-hemispheric transfer: effects of response hand and right-handedness

Vaibhav A. Diwadkar, Marcella Bellani, Asadur Chowdury, Silvia Savazzi, Cinzia Perlini, Veronica Marinelli, Giada Zoccatelli, Franco Alessandrini, Elisa Ciceri, Gianluca Rambaldelli, Mirella Ruggieri, A. Carlo Altamura, Carlo A. Marzi, Paolo Bambilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Because the visual cortices are contra-laterally organized, inter-hemispheric transfer tasks have been used to behaviorally probe how information briefly presented to one hemisphere of the visual cortex is integrated with responses resulting from the ipsi- or contra-lateral motor cortex. By forcing rapid information exchange across diverse regions, these tasks robustly activate not only gray matter regions, but also white matter tracts. It is likely that the response hand itself (dominant or non-dominant) modulates gray and white matter activations during within and inter-hemispheric transfer. Yet the role of uni-manual responses and/or right hand dominance in modulating brain activations during such basic tasks is unclear. Here we investigated how uni-manual responses with either hand modulated activations during a basic visuo-motor task (the established Poffenberger paradigm) alternating between inter- and within-hemispheric transfer conditions. In a large sample of strongly right-handed adults (n = 49), we used a factorial combination of transfer condition [Inter vs. Within] and response hand [Dominant(Right) vs. Non-Dominant (Left)] to discover fMRI-based activations in gray matter, and in narrowly defined white matter tracts. These tracts were identified using a priori probabilistic white matter atlases. Uni-manual responses with the right hand strongly modulated activations in gray matter, and notably in white matter. Furthermore, when responding with the left hand, activations during inter-hemispheric transfer were strongly predicted by the degree of right-hand dominance, with increased right-handedness predicting decreased fMRI activation. Finally, increasing age within the middle-aged sample was associated with a decrease in activations. These results provide novel evidence of complex relationships between uni-manual responses in right-handed subjects, and activations during within- and inter-hemispheric transfer suggest that the organization of the motor system exerts sophisticated functional effects. Moreover, our evidence of activation in white matter tracts is consistent with prior studies, confirming fMRI-detectable white matter activations which are systematically modulated by experimental condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)942-961
Number of pages20
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • fMRI
  • Inter-hemispheric transfer
  • Motor organization
  • Poffenberger paradigm
  • Right-handedness
  • White matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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