Comparing human and nonhuman primate handedness: Challenges and a modest proposal for consensus


  • William D. Hopkins

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Developmental and Cognitive Neuroscience, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Atlanta, GA
    • Neuroscience Institute and Language Research Center, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
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In the past 20–25 years, there have been a number of studies published on handedness in nonhuman primates. The goal of these studies has been to evaluate whether monkeys and apes show patterns of hand preference that resemble the right-handedness found in the human species. The extant findings on handedness in nonhuman primates have revealed inconsistent evidence for population-level handedness within and between species. In this article, I discuss some of the methodological and statistical challenges to comparative studies of handedness in human and nonhuman primates. I further offer a framework for developing some consensus on evaluating the validity of different handedness measures and the characterization of individual hand preferences. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 55: 621–636, 2013.