Dichotic listening is a well-established method to non-invasively assess hemispheric specialization for processing of speech and other auditory stimuli. However, almost six decades of research also have revealed a series of experimental variables with systematic modulatory effects on task performance. These variables are a source of systematic error variance in the data and, when uncontrolled, affect the reliability and validity of the obtained laterality measures. The present review provides a comprehensive overview of these modulatory variables and offers both guiding principles as well as concrete suggestions on how to account for possible confounding effects and avoid common pitfalls. The review additionally provides guidance for the evaluation of past studies and help for resolving inconsistencies in the available literature.
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