Hand preferences in Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus). Laterality

German Primate Center, Göttingen, Germany.
Laterality (Impact Factor: 1.13). 04/2008; 13(2):143-57. DOI: 10.1080/13576500701757532
Source: PubMed


Nearly 90% of humans are right-handed, raising the question of the evolutionary origins of this trait. While lateralisation of certain actions appears to be widespread in vertebrates, the question of whether nonhuman primates exhibit hand preferences at the population level is often contested. We observed Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) living in the outdoor enclosure "La Forêt des Singes" at Rocamadour, France, while performing simple unimanual and coordinated bimanual tasks. For the unimanual task, we recorded continuously which hand they used reaching for grains. For the coordinated bimanual tasks, a semi-transparent box and a tube baited with peanut butter were presented to the macaques and the hand used to open the box or reach into the tube, respectively, was recorded. We found no significant hand preference in any of the tasks at the population level, but found individual hand preferences, the extent of which varied among individuals. For the unimanual, but not the bimanual task, we found that the handedness index increased with age. Our results add to the growing body of evidence that monkeys do not show hand preference at the population level.

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Available from: Julia Fischer, Nov 20, 2014
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    • "the experimental sessions is the same used in all other trials , practice seems to fix well - defined action patterns ( Goldberg & Costa , 1981 ) . These two latter results seem to support the hypothesis that individual learning and practice may be leading factors in determining non - human - primate handed - ness ( Meguerditchian et al . , 2011 ; Schmitt et al . , 2008 ; Warren , 1977 ) , leading to the establishment of fixed - action pattern that imply a specific hand prefer - ence ( Goldberg & Costa , 1981 ) . Other authors suggest that hand preference in non - human primates may be due to task complexity : a simple and familiar task should not elicit an hand preference , whereas a complex and novel "
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    ABSTRACT: Non-human primates represent models to understand the evolution of handedness in humans. Despite several researches have been investigating non-human primates handedness, few studies examined the relationship between target position, hand preference and task complexity. This study aimed at investigating macaque handedness in relation to target laterality and tastiness, as well as task complexity. Seven pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina) were involved in three different "two alternative choice" tests: one low-level task and two high-level tasks (HLTs). During the first and the third tests macaques could select a preferred food and a non-preferred food, whereas by modifying the design of the second test, macaques were presented with no-difference alternative per trial. Furthermore, a simple-reaching test was administered to assess hand preference in a social context. Macaques showed hand preference at individual level both in simple and complex tasks, but not in the simple-reaching test. Moreover, target position seemed to affect hand preference in retrieving an object in the low-level task, but not in the HLT. Additionally, individual hand preference seemed to be affected from the tastiness of the item to be retrieved. The results suggest that both target laterality and individual motivation might influence hand preference of macaques, especially in simple tasks.
    Laterality 08/2015; DOI:10.1080/1357650X.2015.1076834 · 1.13 Impact Factor
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    • "For the reach and grasp drawer task (in monkeys only), the preferred hand is the hand grasping the reward (manipulative role) while the other hand, the postural one, holds the drawer. For these three tasks (bimanual Brinkman board task, reach and grasp drawer task, tube task), we computed the HI (Westergaard et al. 1997; Spinozzi et al. 1998; Hopkins et al. 2004; Schmitt et al. 2008), defined as follows: the number of trials the right hand (R) was used as preferred hand minus the number of times the left hand (L) was used as preferred hand, divided by the total number of trials: HI ¼ ðR – LÞ=ðR + LÞ Consequently, a negative HI reflects a left bias whereas a positive HI reflects a right bias. The HI (lateralization) ranges between +1 (strongly right-handed) and À1 (strongly left-handed). "
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    ABSTRACT: The present study aimed to determine and confront hand preference (hand chosen in priority to perform a manual dexterity task) and hand dominance (hand with best motor performance) in eight macaques (Macaca fascicularis) and in 20 human subjects (10 left-handers and 10 right-handers). Four manual dexterity tests have been executed by the monkeys, over several weeks during learning and stable performance phases (in controlled body position): the modified Brinkman board, the reach and grasp drawer, the tube and the bimanual board tasks. Three behavioral tests, adapted versions from the monkeys tasks (modified Brinkman board, tube and bimanual board tasks), as well as a handedness questionnaire, have been conducted in human subjects. In monkeys, there was a large disparity across individuals and motor tasks. For hand dominance, two monkeys were rather right lateralized, three monkeys rather left lateralized, whereas in three monkeys, the different parameters measured were not consistent. For hand preference, none of the eight monkeys exhibited a homogeneous lateralization across the four motor tasks. Macaca fascicularis do not exhibit a clear hand preference. Furthermore, hand preference often changed with task repetition, both during training and plateau phases. For human subjects, the hand preference mostly followed the self-assessment of lateralization by the subjects and the questionnaire (in the latter, right-handers were more lateralized than left-handers), except a few discrepancies based on the tube task. There was no hand dominance in seven right-handers (the other three performed better with the right hand) and in four left-handers. Five left-handers showed left-hand dominance, whereas surprisingly, one left-hander performed better with the right hand. In the modified Brinkman board task, females performed better than males, right-handers better than left-handers. The present study argues for a distinction between hand preference and hand dominance, especially in macaque monkeys.
    Brain and Behavior 09/2013; 3(5):575-95. DOI:10.1002/brb3.160 · 2.24 Impact Factor
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    • "events) of left and right hand use (Vauclair et al., 2005; Lilak and Phillips, 2007; Meunier and Vauclair, 2007; Bennett et al., 2008; Llorente et al., 2010; Hopkins et al., 2011; Meguerditchian et al., 2012). In contrast, others have suggested that each of the hand use responses presented above is not independent of the other and therefore represents a " lack of data independence " (Hopkins et al., 2001; Schweitzer et al., 2007; Schmitt et al., 2008;Chapelain and Hogervorst, 2009; Chapelain et al., 2011; Zhao et al., 2012). The argument is that because the first hand use event predicts or is correlated with subsequent responses, the data are not independent of each other. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lack of independence of data points or the pooling fallacy has been suggested as a potential problem in the study of handedness in nonhuman primates, particularly as it relates to whether hand use responses should be recorded as individual events or bouts of activity. Here, I argue that there is no evidence that the concept of statistical independence of data points or the pooling fallacy is a problem in the evaluation of population-level handedness in previous studies in nonhuman primates. I further argue these statistical concepts have been misapplied to the characterization of individual hand preferences. Finally, I argue that recording hand use responses as bouts rather than events has no significant effect on reports of hand use in nonhuman primates and, in fact, may unintentionally bias hand use toward the null hypothesis. Several suggestions for improvement in the measurement and statistical determination of individual handedness are offered in the article. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    American Journal of Physical Anthropology 05/2013; 151(1). DOI:10.1002/ajpa.22248 · 2.38 Impact Factor
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