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Keywords:

  • hand preference;
  • object manipulation;
  • gestures;
  • language lateralization;
  • origin;
  • genetic;
  • biological and environmental factors

ABSTRACT

It is often taken for granted that, in a large majority of typical persons, hand preference and hemispheric specialization for language are interrelated. In this article, I argue that there is currently little serious evidence to support this view. I contend that the best way to investigate the true relationship between hand preference and language lateralization would be to look at their codevelopment. Since both hand preference and language asymmetries are expressed very early, even before birth, a systematic comparison of the very early development of both behavioral traits is needed to understand this relationship. At present, such data are clearly lacking. I discuss existing data on the development of hand preference and language asymmetry, and on the relations between the two. I conclude that this evidence favors the view that the two asymmetries develop relatively independently. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 55: 596–607, 2013.