Evidence from neuroimaging studies suggests that the right hemisphere of the human brain might be more specialized for attention than the left hemisphere. However, differences between right and left hemisphere in the magnitude of hemodynamic activity (i.e., 'functional asymmetry') rarely have been explicitly examined in previous neuroimaging studies of attention. This study used a new voxel-based comparison method to examine hemispheric differences in the amplitude of the hemodynamic response in response to infrequent target, infrequent novel, and frequent standard stimuli during an event-related fMRI auditory oddball task in 100 healthy adult participants. Processing of low probability task-relevant target stimuli, or 'oddballs', and low probability task-irrelevant novel stimuli is believed to engage in orienting and attentional processes. It was hypothesized that greater right-hemisphere activation compared to left would be observed to infrequent target and novel stimuli. Consistent with predictions, greater right hemisphere than left frontal, temporal, and parietal lobe activity was observed for target detection and novelty processing. Moreover, asymmetry effects did not differ with respect to age or gender of the participants. The results (1) support the proposal that the right hemisphere is differentially engaged in processing salient stimuli and (2) demonstrate the successful use of a new voxel-based laterality analysis technique for fMRI data.