Effects of Aging and Gender on Interhemispheric Function

Teri James Bellis*, Laura Ann Wilber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


The ability of the two hemispheres of the brain to communicate with one another via the corpus callosum is important for a wide variety of sensory, motor, and cognitive functions, many of them communication related. Anatomical evidence suggests that aging results in structural changes in the corpus callosum and that the course over time of age-related changes in corpus callosum structure may depend on the gender of the individual. Further, it has been hypothesized that age- and gender-related changes in corpus callosum structure may result in concomitant decreased performance on tasks that are reliant on interhemispheric integrity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of age and gender on auditory behavioral and visuomotor temporal indices of interhemispheric function across the life span of the normal adult. Results from 120 consistently right-handed adults from age 20 to 75 years revealed that interhemispheric integrity, as measured by dichotic listening, auditory temporal patterning, and visuomotor interhemispheric transfer time tasks, decreases relatively early in the adult life span (i.e., between the ages of 40 and 55 years) and shows no further decrease thereafter. In addition, the course over time of interhemispheric decline is different for men compared to women for some tasks. These findings suggest that decreased interhemispheric function may be a possible factor contributing to auditory and communication difficulties experienced by aging adults. In addition, results of this study hold implications for the clinical assessment of interhemispheric function in aging adults and for future research into the functional ramifications of decreased multimodality interhemispheric transfer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-263
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Aging
  • Auditory processing
  • Corpus callosum
  • Dichotic listening
  • Interhemispheric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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