A meta-analysis of primate hand preferences, particularly for reaching

Eros Papademetriou, Ching Fan Sheu, George F. Michel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Citations (Scopus)


P. F. MacNeilage, M. G. Studdert-Kennedy, and B. Lindblom (1987) proposed a progression for handedness in primates that was supposed to account for the evolution of a right bias in human handedness. To test this proposal, the authors performed meta-analyses on 62 studies that provided individual data (representing 31 species: 9 prosimians, 6 New World monkeys, 10 Old World monkeys, 2 lesser apes, and 4 greater apes), of the 118 studies of primate handedness published since 1987. Although evidence of a population-level left-handed bias for prosimians and Old World monkeys supports P. F. MacNeilage et al., the data from apes, New World monkeys, and individual species of prosimians and New World monkeys do not. Something other than primate handedness may have been the evolutionary precursor of the right bias in hand-use distribution among hominids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-48
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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