Neuropsychology of Left-Handedness by Jeannine Herron

By Jeannine Herron

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2 7 2 ) , a m o n g others, on the grounds that their hand d y n a m o m e t e r measure is mostly a test of strength, whereas handedness more properly is defined in terms of capacity for skilled m o v e m e n t . Arm Length T h e structural a s y m m e t r y theory of handedness was to see yet another variation. This was the "arm length" theory according to which the size of the humerus indicated right- or left-handedness. According to G . E. Smith ( 1 9 2 5 b , p. 1 1 0 7 ) , this problem w a s first raised for consideration by A r n o l d in 1 8 4 5 (no reference given), following which an extensive literature developed that was summarized b y Ernest G a u p p in 1 9 0 9 ( a , b ) .

How Infants Are Carried Beginning perhaps about the 1880s, reference began to b e made to the role played b y the position in which the child was held b y its mother or nurse. In two sentences, the first clear, the second cryptic, Hall and Hart21 Though not addressing himself specifically to Browne, Buchanan, writing in 1862, made an insightful reply to this argument: If t h e u s e o f t h e right h a n d w e r e a m e r e c o n v e n t i o n a l a r r a n g e m e n t founded on utility and expediency, a n d i n c u l c a t e d b y p r e c e p t a n d p r a c t i c e o n a d o c i l e a n d o b e d i e n t p o s t e r i t y , it w o u l d h a v e v a r i e d like e v e r y o t h e r h u m a n i n s t i t u t i o n left t o v o l u n t a r y c o n t r o l .

Charles Darwin himself had addressed the question, using his own child as example. W h e n 77 days old, he t o o k the sucking b o t t l e (with which he was partly fed) in his right h a n d , w h e t h e r he w a s held on the left or right a r m of his nurse, and he w o u l d not take it in his left h a n d until a w e e k later although I tried to m a k e him do so; so that the right h a n d was a w e e k in a d v a n c e o f the left. Yet this in­ fant afterwards p r o v e d to b e left-handed, the tendency being n o doubt in­ herited—his grandfather, m o t h e r , a n d a b r o t h e r having been or being lefth a n d e d [ D a r w i n , 1 8 7 7 , p.

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