Ontogeny of Object Manipulation and Manual Lateralization in the Guinea Baboon: Preliminary Observations

  • Joël Fagot
Part of the Recent Research in Psychology book series (PSYCHOLOGY)


The main focus of this paper is the early development of manual lateralization in a primate species (Papio papio). There are several reasons for studying the ontogeny of asymmetrical hand usage in nonhuman primates. First, developmental studies might provide an explanation about the forms of manual laterality in adults. Second, an ontogenetic approach helps address features of the underlying brain maturation. Third, such studies also raise the question of the resemblance, and thus of the dissimilarities, between the development of manual lateralization in man and forms of laterality during ontogeny in other primates. Although numerous studies have been carried out on manual lateralization in nonhuman primates (see references in Fagot & Vauclair, 1991; MacNeilage, Studdert-Kennedy, & Lindblom, 1987; Warren, 1980), there are many gaps in the literature with respect to the question of its development. Cunningham, Forsythe, and Ward (1989) have reported an unstable right preference for food reaches, but a stable preference for nonfood reaches in an orang-utan observed from 43 to 70 weeks of age. Chorazyna (1976) and Brésard and Bresson (1983) have found in the chimpanzee an initial instability in lateral preference with age. Similar fluctuations had been found in human newborns (e.g., Liederman, 1983). Bard, Hopkins, and Fort (1990) have reported that 8 of 10 infant chimpanzees preferred to suck their right thumb.


Nonhuman Primate Hand Preference Lateral Preference Object Manipulation Manual Preference 
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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1993

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  • Joël Fagot

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