Sensorimotor performance asymmetries predict hand selection

A. Przybyla, C. J. Coelho, S. Akpinar, S. Kirazci, Robert L. Sainburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Handedness is most often measured by questionnaires that assess an individual's preference for using a particular hand to perform a variety of tasks. While such assessments have proved reliable, they do not address the underlying neurobehavioral processes that give rise to the choice of which hand to use. Recent research has indicated that handedness is associated with hemispheric specializations for different aspects of sensorimotor performance. We now hypothesize that an individual's choice of which hand to use for a given task should result from an interaction between these underlying neurobehavioral asymmetries with task conditions. We test this hypothesis by manipulating two factors in targeted reaching movements: (1) region of workspace and (2) visual feedback conditions. The first manipulation modified the geometric and dynamic requirements of the task for each arm, whereas the second modified the sensorimotor performance asymmetries, an effect predicted by previous literature. We expected that arm choice would be reflected by an interaction between these factors. Our results indicated that removing visual feedback both improved the relative performance of the non-dominant arm and increased the choice to use this arm for targets near midline, an effect that was enhanced for targets requiring larger movement amplitudes. We explain these findings in the context of the dynamic dominance hypothesis of handedness and discuss their implications for the link between hemispheric asymmetries in neural control and hand preference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-360
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Jan 3 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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