A longitudinal study of hand preference in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

William D. Hopkins*, Kim A. Bard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A longitudinal study of hand preferences was assessed in a sample of 53 captive chimpanzees. Four measures of laterality assessed during the first 3 months of life were correlated with three measures of hand preferences assessed when the subjects were between 2 and 5 years of age. In addition, the effect of rearing environment on juvenile hand preferences was assessed in a larger sample of 83 chimpanzees. Overall, some early asymmetries were predictive of juvenile hand preferences, notably head orientation and hand- to-hand activities, and a defensive grasping response. No significant effects of rearing on hand preferences were found but males were more right-handed than females for two of the three juvenile measures. The results are discussed within the context of different developmental models of hand preference in humans. (C) 2000 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-300
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Psychobiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2000


  • Chimpanzees
  • Development
  • Evolution
  • Hand preference
  • Laterality


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