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Keywords:

  • infants;
  • handedness development;
  • language;
  • hemispheric specialization;
  • embodied cognition

ABSTRACT

We propose a developmental process which may link the development of handedness with the development of hemispheric specialization for speech processing. Using Arbib's proposed sequence of sensorimotor development of manual skills and gestures (that he considers to be the basis of speech gestures and proto-language), we show how the development of hand-use preferences in proto-reaching skills concatenate into object acquisition skills and eventually into role-differentiated bimanual manipulation skills (that reflect interhemispheric communication and coordination). These latter sensorimotor skills might facilitate the development of speech processing via their influence on the development of tool-using and object management abilities. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 55: 608–620, 2013.