Volume 3 Issue 4, April 2019

Volume 3 Issue 4

Left brain, right brain

Which side of the brain does what in speech and language processing? Flinker and colleagues develop a framework for auditory cortical asymmetries that capitalizes on spectrotemporal modulation space.

See Flinker et al. See also Hamilton

Cover image: Adeen Flinker, NYU School of Medicine. Cover design: Bethany Vukomanovic.


  • Editorial |

    We want Nature Human Behaviour to be a platform for important science, comment and opinion from around the globe. To achieve this, we need your help.

Comment & Opinion

  • World View |

    Communications technology, such as messaging services and social media, can be used to prevent the dissemination of independent information, and misinformation can be used to spread hatred and incite violence. However, argues John Green Otunga, it is possible to harness the power of information and communications technology to help prevent conflict.

    • John Green Otunga
  • Comment |

    The benefits of data sharing to the scientific community are widely agreed upon. But does data sharing also benefit individual scientists? I argue that data sharing may carry tangible benefits to one’s own research that can outweigh any potential associated costs.

    • Laurence T. Hunt
  • Comment |

    Despite a century of convergence, there is still no evidence of fully closing gender gaps in employment and wages, possibly reflecting a suboptimal allocation of talent. Economic research has emphasized the role of gender differences in preferences, work–life balance considerations and gender identity norms in shaping the observed gender trends.

    • Barbara Petrongolo

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Migration is a central feature of human behaviour, yet there is little consensus about its long-term impact on people and populations. A new study examines the records of Finnish Karelians evacuated to western Finland during World War II and suggests that integration into a host population entails a trade-off between social status and fertility.

    • Mary C. Towner
  • News & Views |

    The causes of early marriage often remain unclear. A new study tests whether parental interests and coercion explain high rates of marriage for girls aged 15–18 in rural Tanzania. It finds that most brides choose their own partners and do not suffer harm to their physical or mental wellbeing later in life, and suggests alternative explanations.

    • Laura Stark
  • News & Views |

    Which side of the brain does what in speech and language processing is a debate that has engaged and divided the neuroscientific community for more than a century. A new study by Flinker et al. provides a more nuanced interpretation of how the left and right hemispheres of the brain process acoustic information important for speech processing.

    • Liberty S. Hamilton


  • Letter |

    This article explores the effect of ideological polarization on team performance. By analysing millions of edits to Wikipedia, the authors reveal that politically diverse editor teams produce higher-quality articles than homogeneous or moderate teams, and they identify the mechanisms responsible for producing these superior articles.

    • Feng Shi
    • , Misha Teplitskiy
    • , Eamon Duede
    •  & James A. Evans
  • Letter |

    Evacuees who intermarry and remain in the host society gain socioeconomic benefits but suffer reduced fertility. This suggests that integration involves trade-offs between within-group ‘bonding’ social networks and between-group ‘bridging’ networks

    • Robert Lynch
    • , Virpi Lummaa
    • , Karthik Panchanathan
    • , Kevin Middleton
    • , Anna Rotkirch
    • , Mirkka Danielsbacka
    • , David O’Brien
    •  & John Loehr
  • Letter |

    What conditions produce a willingness to sacrifice our own self-interest for others? McGrath and Gerber find that collaboration increases willingness to sacrifice, distinct from considerations of accountability, in-group favouritism or disparity.

    • Mary C. McGrath
    •  & Alan S. Gerber
  • Letter |

    How good are people at choosing between exploration and exploitation? In a task that captures the essence of such decisions, Song et al. found systematic deviations from optimality that were associated with the sequence of decisions participants can make.

    • Mingyu Song
    • , Zahy Bnaya
    •  & Wei Ji Ma
  • Article |

    Amasino et al. show that when humans decide between earlier or later monetary pay-outs of smaller or larger amounts, patient choices result from processing the information about amount and time successively, focussing first on amounts to be gained.

    • Dianna R. Amasino
    • , Nicolette J. Sullivan
    • , Rachel E. Kranton
    •  & Scott A. Huettel
  • Article |

    Flinker and colleagues describe a framework for auditory cortical asymmetries that capitalizes on spectrotemporal modulation space. Data from psychophysics, magnetoencephalography (MEG) and electrocorticography (ECoG) inform a signal processing-based view on lateralization.

    • Adeen Flinker
    • , Werner K. Doyle
    • , Ashesh D. Mehta
    • , Orrin Devinsky
    •  & David Poeppel

Amendments & Corrections