Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception Institut Neurosciences Cognition Université Paris Descartes Centre National de Recherche Scientifique
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The nature and nurture of human infant hand preference

This article reviews the earliest documented manual and postural asymmetries, in the fetus and during the first months of life. I attempt to analyze which genetic and/or environmental factors are likely to trigger each one, as well as its consequences for the other ones. I conclude that right-handedness is prevalent in all cultures because an intrinsic tendency toward righthandedness has many occasions to be reinforced, from the uterine to the perinatal environment and from the familial to the cultural environment. Finally, the combination of potential genetic factorsódirect (motoric) or indirect (postural)ówith varied biological and cultural environmental influences over various periods during development, may explain the high variability of handedness in typical populations (as long as hand preference is not equated with the hand used for writing).