International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 1155–1168

Factor Analysis of Multiple Measures of Hand Use in Captive Chimpanzees: An Alternative Approach to the Assessment of Handedness in Nonhuman Primates


  • Michael J. Wesley
    • Department of PsychologyBerry College
  • Samuel Fernandez-Carriba
    • Division of Psychobiology, Yerkes Regional Primate Research CenterEmory University
  • Autumn Hostetter
    • Department of PsychologyBerry College
  • Dawn Pilcher
    • Division of Psychobiology, Yerkes Regional Primate Research CenterEmory University
  • Sarah Poss
    • Department of PsychologyBerry College
  • William D. Hopkins
    • Department of PsychologyBerry College

DOI: 10.1023/A:1021114518028

Cite this article as:
Wesley, M.J., Fernandez-Carriba, S., Hostetter, A. et al. International Journal of Primatology (2002) 23: 1155. doi:10.1023/A:1021114518028


We tested whether chimpanzee handedness could be characterized as either unidimensional or multidimensional when considered across multiple measures of hand use. We determined for each of 6 different tasks in a sample of 105 captive chimpanzees hand preferences, and subjected the individual hand preference scores to a factor analysis. Five of the 6 tasks loaded on two separate factors that accounted for 54% of the variance. To assess population-level handedness, we calculated handedness indices for the loadings on each factor, for the item loadings across all factors, and for all tasks including ones that did not load on any factor. There is significant population-level right handedness for all 4 indices, which suggests that chimpanzee handedness is multidimensional and not task specific.

Pan troglodyteshandednessfactor analysislateralitychimpanzeeGreat Apesnon-human primatesasymmetry

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002