Skip to content

When you choose to publish with PLOS, your research makes an impact. Make your work accessible to all, without restrictions, and accelerate scientific discovery with options like preprints and published peer review that make your work more Open.

PLOS BLOGS The Official PLOS Blog

Most Viewed PLOS Neuroscience Article Ever?

The answer is…
An Evaluation of the Left-Brain vs. Right-Brain Hypothesis with Resting State Functional Connectivity Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 

An August 2013 research article from Jared A. Nielsen, Brandon A. Zielinski, Michael A. Ferguson, Janet E. Lainhart, and Jeffrey S. Anderson of the Interdepartmental Program in Neuroscience, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

This paper has, to date (Jul 1, 2014), received:


Read the PLOS ONE research article here. 

FIGURE 1: Significant lateralization of gray matter density.
Colored regions included ROIs that showed significantly greater left- or right-lateralization of gray matter density across 1011 subjects, correcting for multiple comparisons using a false discovery rate correction of q<0.05 across 7266 ROIs. Color bars show t-statistics for the left and right hemispheres, respectively. Images are in radiologic format with subject left on image right.

In a media statement, one of the authors, Michael A. Ferguson, summed up the team’s findings saying:

“It’s absolutely true that some brain functions occur in one or the other side of the brain. Language tends to be on the left, attention more on the right. But people don’t tend to have a stronger left- or right-sided brain network. It seems to be determined more connection by connection.”

How did the media respond?

The blog Digital/Edu wrote of the paper’s findings in an article titled “3 false facts about the brain“:

Right and left-brain dominance, it can be stated flatly, does not exist. While it provides a wonderful metaphor for different intellectual styles and strengths–creative vs. logical, visual vs. verbal–a recent analysis of over a thousand subjects concluded that while certain functions are indeed localized to different sides of the brain, “our data are not consistent with a whole-brain phenotype of greater “left-brained” or greater “right-brained” network strength across individuals.”

In other media reports, among the most common words used to describe the paper’s implications were “truth” and “debunked” as in:

So, enough from the non-experts, what do researchers working in neuroscience think about this paper? We invite you to comment on any aspect of the research and/or the media response to it. The authors will be invited to add their comments as the conversation develops. 



Back to top