•The frontal cortex shows left- or right-brain dominance in short-term memory
•The left and right frontal cortex have similar neural dynamics
•The dominant hemisphere regulates neural activity in the non-dominant hemisphere
•Asymmetric hemispheric interaction determines dominance and behavioral variability
Despite essentially symmetric structures in mammalian brains, the left and right hemispheres do not contribute equally to certain cognitive functions. How both hemispheres interact to cause this asymmetry remains unclear. Here, we study this question in the anterior lateral motor cortex (ALM) of mice performing five versions of a tactile-based decision-making task with a short-term memory (STM) component. Unilateral inhibition of ALM produces variable behavioral deficits across tasks, with the left, right, or both ALMs playing critical roles in STM. Neural activity and its encoding capability are similar across hemispheres, despite that only one hemisphere dominates in behavior. Inhibition of the dominant ALM disrupts encoding capability in the non-dominant ALM, but not vice versa. Variable behavioral deficits are predicted by the influence on contralateral activity across sessions, mice, and tasks. Together, these results reveal that the left and right ALM interact asymmetrically, leading to their differential contributions to STM.