The left and right halves of our brains develop differently, as each hemisphere ‘specializes’ in certain functions. For example, for most people, the left hemisphere—controlling the right hand—is dominant for language. But brain asymmetry is sometimes affected in people with developmental or psychiatric disorders like autism, which is characterized by impaired social cognition, repetitive behavior, and restricted interests. Ph.D. student Merel Postema explains: “Previous studies have suggested that people with autism spectrum disorder are less likely to have the typical asymmetries for language dominance or hand preference. However, it has not been clear whether asymmetry of the brain’s anatomy is affected in autism, because different studies have reported different findings.”

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