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Brain Cogn. 2000 Dec;44(3):402-14.

A performance measure of the degree of hand preference.

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Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.


The present paper describes a performance method for determining hand preference. The task requires participants to reach into different regions of hemispace to perform various actions (point, pick up, toss, sweep, and position) with a dowel located at each position. In accordance with the participants' hand preference as measured by the Waterloo Handedness Questionnaire, the preferred hand was used more frequently on the various performance tasks. The distribution of hand use in working space indicates that preferred hand use was almost exclusive for actions carried out in ipsilateral hemispace, while it is used only moderately for actions in contralateral hemispace, revealing that this hand is used throughout a wider range of extrapersonal space than the nonpreferred hand. These trends were observed across all of the performance tasks, suggesting that task complexity did not affect the frequency of preferred hand use either overall or, more specifically, in right hemispace, as was predicted. This finding is inconsistent with empirical work on questionnaires indicating that verbal reports of preferred hand use increase for more complex tasks (e.g., Steenhuis & Bryden, 1988). As well, performance on the preferential reaching task correlated significantly with hand preference as measured on the Waterloo Handedness Questionnaire (Bryden, 1977), unlike the other performance measure examined, indicating that the preferential reaching task is sensitive to differences in the degree of hand preference.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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