Evidence for general right-, mixed-, and left-sidedness in self-reported handedness, footedness, eyedness, and earedness, and a primacy of footedness in a large-sample latent variable analysis

Ulrich S Tran, Stefan Stieger, Martin Voracek

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

Abstract

Lateral preferences are important for the study of cerebral lateralization and may be indicative of neurobehavioral disorders, neurodevelopmental instability, and deficits in lateralization. Previous studies showed that self-reported preferences are also concordantly interrelated, suggesting a common genetic or biological origin, sidedness. However, with regard to the assessment and classification of lateral preferences, there is a dearth of psychometric studies, but a need for psychometrically validated instruments that can be reliably used in applied research. Based on three independent large samples (total N>15,100), this study investigated the psychometric properties of widely-used lateral preference scales of handedness, footedness, eyedness, and earedness. Preferences were consistently and replicably categorical, consisting of right, mixed, and left preferences each, underlining that primarily qualitative, rather than quantitative, differences differentiate lateral preferences. Right-, mixed-, and left-sidedness underlay the individual preferences, but sidedness alone could not fully explain the observed inter-relations. Footedness was the single most important indicator of sidedness. Our data were further consistent with predictions of right shift theory and corroborated a 'pull-to-concordance' in hand-foot preferences. We recommend the use of psychometrically validated scales and of a trichotomous classification of lateral preferences in future research, but conclude that handedness may be a biased indicator of underlying sidedness. Footedness needs to be examined more closely with regard to cerebral lateralization, neurodevelopmental disorders, and neurodevelopmental instability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-232
Number of pages13
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume62
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Ear
  • Eye
  • Female
  • Foot
  • Functional Laterality/genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Genetic
  • Self Report
  • Young Adult

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