The last 10 years of research on adult hand preference patterns have generated a controversy over the meaning of the difference in the incidence rates of left- and right-hand preference in older adult samples (> 60 years old) when compared to samples of younger individuals (< 30 years old). Age differences in hand preference prevalence often are studied with large, cross-sectional age samples; however, with 1 notable exception (Gilbert and Wysocki, 1992), these large samples frequently are dominated numerically by individuals below the age of 45 years. This study reports on hand preference data from a sample of 1,277 individuals between the ages of 65 and 100 years. Overall, the participants in this sample displayed an incidence of 93.1% right preference versus 6.9% left preference. However, the occurrence of age differences in right-hand use when the oldest-old adults (>73 years old) were compared to the others in this sample were only apparent for writing hand preference. Variation in hand preference prevalence was related to whether an individual reported a history of attempts to switch preference toward the right side. These findings support the view that age-related variations in hand preference prevalence are best explained by a number of factors, the interaction of which is still not well understood (Hugdahl, Satz, Mitmshina, and Miller, 1993; Hugdahl, Zaucha, Satz, Mitmshina, and Miller, 1996).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology