Behavior Genetics

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 227–249

Genetic and nongenetic influences on handedness

  • Marian Annett

DOI: 10.1007/BF01072826

Cite this article as:
Annett, M. Behav Genet (1978) 8: 227. doi:10.1007/BF01072826


A brief review of theories of the causes of handedness shows why the major determinant is probably accidental variation, modified in man by a genetic factor inducing dextral bias. Levy's (1976, 1977) criticisms of Annett (1973) are answered by a detailed consideration of Chamberlain's (1928) report and by the presentation of an alternative analysis of the Hull family data using a criterion more similar to that of Rife (1940). The revised analysis is incompatible with the Levy-Nagylaki (1972) model of the genetics of handedness. New data on family preferences in two further student samples support the Hull findings. Data on manual skill in families are more consistent with an accidental than with a polygenic origin of human variability in handedness.

Key Words

genetic hand preference manual skill 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marian Annett
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied Social StudiesLanchester PolytechnicCoventryEngland

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