Abstract # 63:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2009 06:30 PM-09:00 PM: Session 5 (Mission Bay Ballroom CDE) Poster Presentation


THE INTERACTION BETWEEN HAND PREFERENCE AND HAND PERFORMANCE: DATA FROM RHESUS MONKEYS AND HUMAN INFANTS

E. L. Nelson1, N. E. Berthier1,2, A. M. Locantore2 and M. A. Novak1,2
1University of Massachusetts , Neuroscience and Behavior Graduate Program, Amherst, MA 01003, USA, 2Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 01003, USA
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Human adults largely prefer to use the right hand and are more proficient with the preferred hand on tests of hand skill. Data from nonhuman primates and human infants however are limited. This study evaluated the relationship between hand preference and performance in adult rhesus monkeys [Macaca mulatta, n=7] and human infants [Homo sapiens, n=56]. Participants were classified as left-preferent or right-preferent based on frequency of hand use during a baseline activity. Hand performance was quantified from latency to reach to a cup and from latency to obtain a treat placed inside the cup using the left and right hands on different trials. Reaching was divided into early and later segments based on the hand passing through the cage mesh for monkeys reaching to the cup placed outside their home cage, and the peak speed as measured by motion capture for infants. For monkeys, hand preference did not impact early reaching, but the preferred hand was slower than the non-preferred hand for later reaching [F(1,83)=6.88, p<0.05]. For infants, the preferred hand was faster than the non-preferred hand on early reach speed [F(1,376)=5.27, p<0.05], but there was no effect of hand preference on later reach speed. Hand preference did not affect time spent in the cup in either group. These data suggest that hand preference exerts different effects on reaching movements in monkeys compared to infants.