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J Comp Psychol. 1990 Sep;104(3):275-82.

Hand preference and performance on unimanual and bimanual tasks in capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella).

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Psychology Department, Washington State University, Pullman 99164-4830.


Patterns of manual preference and the extent to which preference provided a benefit in performance (movement time) were evaluated in 7 young adult capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). Directions of preference were inconsistent within individual animals across home-cage activities, unimanual, and bimanual experimental tasks. Preferences were more strongly expressed in the experimental tasks than in the home cage. A left bias in the population for prehension, predicted by recent theories, was not evident in any setting. Movement time was moderately negatively correlated with degree of preference within experimental tasks. The benefit to performance conferred by lateral preference was not dependent on whether the right or left hand was preferred. Lateralization of prehension appears to be a flexible process in these monkeys, which can result in quickly realized benefits in some conditions.

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