Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

The development of hand preference in children: The effect of task demands and links with manual dexterity

By Elisabeth L. Hill and Fateha Khanem


Lateralisation of hand preference and manual dexterity are known to develop over childhood, while in\ud adulthood strength of hand preference has been shown to interact with extrinsic task demands. Some\ud evidence exists to suggest that strength of hand preference and motor skill may be related. In the current\ud study a handedness inventory, midline crossing (QHP) and peg-moving tasks were used to investigate:\ud (1) the development of hand preference between 4 and 11 years; (2) whether extrinsic task demands\ud affect strength of hand preference, and (3) whether strength of hand preference was associated with\ud manual dexterity. Younger children (4–5 years) showed weak hand preference in comparison to older\ud children (8–11 years), and extrinsic task demands influenced willingness to cross the body’s midline with\ud the preferred hand. Age and peg-moving speed were associated with midline crossing in certain task conditions. Overall, results suggest a coupling between manual dexterity and brain maturation in typical\ud development

Topics: C800, C820
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2000). A developmental analysis of the relationship between hand preference and performance: I. Preferential reaching into hemispace.
  2. (2002). A genomewide linkage screen for relative hand skill in sibling pairs.
  3. (1998). A reaching test reveals weak hand preference in specific language impairment and developmental co-ordination disorder.
  4. (2003). Confirmatory evidence for linkage of relative hand skill to 2p12-q11.
  5. (1980). Developmental age trends in crossing the body midline in normal children.
  6. (2003). Familial and genetic effects on motor coordination, laterality, and reading-related cognition.
  7. (2008). Hand preference and hand performance: Cross-sectional developmental trends and family resemblance in degree of laterality.
  8. (1990). Handedness and developmental disorder. Hove: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  9. (2005). Handedness and specific language impairment: A study of 6-year old twins.
  10. (2004). Influence of object spatial location and task complexity on children’s use of their preferred hand depending on their handedness consistency. doi
  11. (2006). Laterality in persons with intellectual disability II. Hand, foot, ear and eye lateralities in children or adolescent and adult persons with trisomy 21 and Williams Beuren syndrome.
  12. (2001). Lateralized effects on reaching by children.
  13. (2006). Midline crossing: Developmental trend from 3 to 10 years of age in a preferential card-reaching task.
  14. (2002). Motor immaturity and speech and language impairment: Evidence for a common genetic basis.
  15. (1998). Quantifying hand preference using a behavioural continuum.
  16. (1983). Right- and left-hand skill I: Effects of age, sex and hand preference showing superior skill in left-handers.
  17. (2007). Task demands affect manual asymmetries in pegboard performance.
  18. (1971). The assessment and analysis of hand preference: The Edinburgh Inventory. doi
  19. (1987). The development of manual midline crossing in 2- to 6-year old children. doi
  20. (2005). The dynamics of standing balance.
  21. (2005). The effect of task constraint on infants’ (bi)manual strategy for grasping and exploring objects.
  22. (1996). The measurement of hand preference: A validation study comparing three groups of right-hander’s.
  23. (1992). The measurement of handedness: A crosscultural comparison of samples from England and Papua New Guinea.
  24. (2008). Weak hand preference in children with Down syndrome is associated with language deficits.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.