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Brain Cogn. 2004 Jul;55(2):349-51.

The effects of skill demands and object position on the distribution of preferred hand reaches.

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Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ont., Canada.


Performance-based measures of hand preference have been developed as an objective method of examining handedness. Previous research using this method showed that both skill demands and the position of the object in working space affect preferential hand reaching. Specifically, preferred hand reaches predominated in left hemispace, in spite of the biomechanical inefficiency involved in reaching across the body midline. This was mediated by the skill demands, with a higher frequency of preferred hand reaches for tasks requiring more skill. To further examine this issue, we increased the task skill demands. Twenty-two right-handed adults reached for five tools located in an array of five positions in front of them. Participants were required to pick up the tool, pick up and demonstrate how to use it, or pick up and actually use the tool on the materials provided. The results showed that the frequency of right hand reaches was greatest for the tool use condition. This effect was mediated by the position of the object in hemispace, with more right hand reaches occurring for the Use task in left hemispace than the other tasks, in support of our previous work.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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