, 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

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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.