International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 851–866

On the Other Hand: Statistical Issues in the Assessment and Interpretation of Hand Preference Data in Nonhuman Primates


    • Department of PsychologyBerry College
    • Living Links Center for the Advanced Study of Ape and Human Evolution, Division of Psychobiology, Yerkes Regional Primate Research CenterEmory University

DOI: 10.1023/A:1020822401195

Cite this article as:
Hopkins, W.D. International Journal of Primatology (1999) 20: 851. doi:10.1023/A:1020822401195


I describe methodological and statistical issues in the assessment of hand preference in nonhuman primates and discuss them in the context of a recent paper by McGrew and Marchant (1997) in which they conclude that there is no convincing evidence of population-level hand preferences in nonhuman primates. The criteria used by them to evaluate individual and population-level hand preferences are flawed, which results in an oversimplification of findings in nonhuman primates. I further argue that the classification schema used by McGrew and Marchant (1997) to compare hand preference distributions between species is theoretically weak and does not offer a meaningful way to compare human and nonhuman primate handedness.

chimpanzeeshand preferencestatisticsresearch methods

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999