, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 295–299 | Cite as

Hand preference in capuchin monkeys varies with age

  • Gregory Charles Westergaard
  • Stephen J. Suomi
Short Communication


The purpose of this research was to examine the influence of age on hand preference in capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). Twenty-two capuchins, aged 6 months to 30 years, were presented with a task that involved reaching for food and a task that involved using sponging tools to absorb juice. Adults exhibited a greater percentage of right-handed actions in each task than did immature subjects. Adults also exhibited a stronger lateral bias than did immature subjects in the sponging task. These results are consistent with hypotheses: a) adult capuchin monkeys are biased toward use of their right hand for reaching; b) adult capuchins exhibit a greater incidence of right-hand preference than do immature capuchins; and c) primates exhibit age-related differences in the strength and direction of hand preference in tasks that involve the use of tools.

Key Words

Capuchin Cebus apella Monkey Hand preference Laterality Tool-use 


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory Charles Westergaard
    • 1
  • Stephen J. Suomi
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Comparative EthologyNational Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentPoolesvilleUSA

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