Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Maryellen RomeroEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_685




Handedness is the preferential use of, or superior performance with, one hand for the completion of manual tasks.

Current Knowledge

The manifestation of motor asymmetry is easily observed in one’s preference for and/or the superior skill with which one carries out unilateral manual tasks such as writing or throwing a ball. (NB: Preference for one hand does not necessarily lead to better performance with that hand.) In virtually all right-handers, this manual superiority is mediated by the same hemisphere that is dominant for language, namely the left. In left-handers, this is less frequently the case as the left hemisphere is still more commonly the dominant hemisphere for language. It should be noted that hand preference is imperfectly associated with other peripheral lateralized functions such as footedness and eyedness.

Until recently, the association between the functional asymmetry of hand preference and any neuroanatomic correlates had not been...

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References and Readings

  1. Amunts, K., Schlaug, G., Schleicher, A., Steinmetz, H., Dabringhaus, A., Roland, P. E., et al. (1996). Asymmetry in the human motor cortex and handedness. NeuroImage, 4(3), 216–222.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Fennell, E. (1986). Handedness in neuropsychological research. In H. J. Hannay (Ed.), Experimental techniques in human neuropsychology. New York: Oxford Univeristy Press.Google Scholar
  3. Howieson, D., Loring, D., & Hannay, H. J. (2004). Neurobehavioral variables and diagnostic issues. In M. Lezak, D. Howieson, & D. Loring (Eds.), Neuropsycholgical assessment (4th ed., pp. 304–307). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Schenker, N. M., Sherwood, C. C., Hof, P. R., & Semendeferi, K. (2007). Microstructural asymmetries of the cerebral cortex in humans and other mammals. Special Topics in Primatology, 5, 92–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesTulane University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA