CBBM Lecture "A generative modeling framework for studying hemispheric lateralization in the human brain"

by Dr. Stefan Frässle,

Translational Neuromodeling Unit,

University of Zürich and ETH Zürich

will take place on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 from 17:15 to 18:15 in CBBM Building, Ground Floor, Room 50/51.

Host: Dr. Frieder Paulus

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Universität zu Lübeck


Although the two cerebral hemispheres of the human brain appear anatomically very similar, they differ with regard to their functional specifications. In particular, a cognitive process rarely elicits equally strong activation in both hemispheres, but typically engages one hemisphere more than the other – a phenomenon dubbed hemispheric lateralization. Over the last decades, neuroimaging studies have demonstrated hemispheric lateralization for the majority of cognitive processes. Critically, previous studies adopted a merely descriptive statistical account of the acquired neuroimaging data and thus failed to afford a mechanistic understanding of the processes that underlie lateralization in the human brain. Here, we introduced a generative modeling framework using dynamic causal modeling (DCM) for fMRI to overcome this limitation. By testing the intra- and interhemispheric integration among the core regions of the face perception network, we provided a mechanistic description of the lateralized processes during face processing and revealed a decisive role of interhemispheric integration at an early stage of face processing among bilateral OFA. Subsequent experiments demonstrated that the effective connectivity results are highly stable across multiple sessions (i.e., test-retest reliability), different tasks, and variations to the exact network structure. Equipped with such a powerful and robust approach, we started to ask more sophisticated questions addressing, for instance, how handedness relates to the hemispheric lateralization of the core face perception network.


Dr. Frässle studied Physics at Universities of Konstanz and Marburg. He received his PhD from the Philipps-University-Marburg. Since 2016 he is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Translational Neuromodeling Unit (TNU), University of Zürich and ETH Zürich.