Latent classes in the developmental trajectories of infant handedness

George F. Michel, Iryna Babik, Ching Fan Sheu, Julie M. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Handedness for acquiring objects was assessed monthly from 6 to 14 months in 328 infants (182 males). A group based trajectory model identified 3 latent groups with different developmental trajectories: those with an identifiable right preference (38%) or left preference (14%) and those without an identifiable preference (48%) but with a significant trend toward right-handedness. Each group exhibited significant quadratic trends: Those with a right preference increased to asymptote at about 10 months and began decreasing thereafter; those with a left preference increased to asymptote at about 11 months; those without a preference exhibited increasing right-hand use. Since adult handedness reflects different patterns of neural organization which relate to differences in psychological functioning, the observed differences in infant handedness development may relate to differences in the development of infant neurobehavioral organization and functioning. Several methods were used to explore the relation of latent classes to more conventional ways of classifying infant handedness. Classification into handedness groups according to either a monthly z-score or a combination of 4 or fewer months for a handedness index failed to provide reliable estimates of handedness identified by the trajectory analysis. If identified trajectories of handedness development relate to the development of the infant's neurobehavioral organization, researchers who assess infant handedness only once in order to relate it to cognitive, social and emotional functioning may risk misclassifying the handedness of as many as 37-45% of infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-359
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Feb

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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