The nature and nurture of human infant hand preference
Version of Record online: 25 APR 2013
© 2013 New York Academy of Sciences.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume 1288, The Evolution of Human Handedness pages 114–123, June 2013
How to Cite
Fagard, J. (2013), The nature and nurture of human infant hand preference. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1288: 114–123. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12051
- Issue online: 6 JUN 2013
- Version of Record online: 25 APR 2013
- head turning;
- early development;
- genetic, biological and environmental factors
This paper reviews the earliest documented manual and postural asymmetries, in the fetus and during the first months of life. I attempt to analyze which genetic and/or environmental factors are likely to trigger each one, as well as its consequences for the other ones. I conclude that right-handedness is prevalent in all cultures because an intrinsic tendency toward right-handedness has many occasions to be reinforced, from the uterine to the perinatal environment and from the familial to the cultural environment. Finally, the combination of potential genetic factors—direct (motoric) or indirect (postural)—with varied biological and cultural environmental influences over various periods during development may explain the high variability of handedness in typical populations (as long as hand preference is not equated with the hand used for writing).