Laterality effects in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

Marcella Bellani, Carlo A. Marzi, Silvia Savazzi, Cinzia Perlini, Stefania Cerruti, Adele Ferro, Veronica Marinelli, Silvia Sponda, Gianluca Rambaldelli, Michele Tansella, Paolo Brambilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are numerous reports in the literature of lateralised structural cerebral abnormalities and alterations of the corpus callosum in the major psychoses. In the light of these findings the purpose of this study was to directly compare hemispheric differences and callosal interhemispheric transmission (IT) in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. To do that we tested schizophrenic (SCZ), bipolar disorder (BD) patients and controls in a simple manual reaction time (RT) task with lateralised visual stimuli (Poffenberger paradigm) which enables one to test both laterality effects and IT time. We found an overall slowing of responses with the right hand in schizophrenics but not in bipolar patients, who, like controls, showed no hand differences. This selective slowing down of the right hand is likely to be related to abnormalities of intrahemispheric cortico-cortical connections in the left hemisphere. In contrast, IT time was similar in SCZ and BD patients and did not differ with respect to controls. Two are the novel findings of the present study: first both SZC and BD share a normal IT of visuomotor information despite the presence of callosal abnormalities. Second, an impairment of intrahemispheric left hemispheric processing is present only in SCZ patients. This represents a potentially important clue to a further understanding of the pathogenetic differences between the two major psychoses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-344
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • Hemispheric differences
  • Interhemispheric transmission
  • Major psychoses
  • Poffenberger paradigm
  • Reaction time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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