Gillian S Forrester

Gillian S Forrester
Birkbeck, University of London · Department of Psychological Sciences

DPhil

About

46
Publications
6,665
Reads
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1,691
Citations
Introduction
Gillian S Forrester currently works at the Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London. Gillian does research in Evolutionary Psychology, Behavioural Science and Biological Psychology. Their current project is 'Lateral cradling biases in children'.

Publications

Publications (46)
Article
We employed a multiple case studies approach to investigate lateralization of hand actions in typically and atypically developing children between 4 and 5 years of age. We report on a detailed set of over 1200 hand actions made by four typically developing boys and four boys with autism. Participants were assessed for unimanual hand actions to both...
Article
Our objective was to demonstrate that human population-level, right-handedness, is not species specific, precipitated from language areas in the brain, but rather is context specific and inherited from a behavior common to both humans and great apes. In general, previous methods of assessing human handedness have neglected to consider the context o...
Chapter
Historically, many cognitive competencies have been considered human unique. An anthropomorphic mindset has thwarted a better understanding of inherited behaviors that have emerged as the result of millions of years of shared evolution with other vertebrates. The behavioral sciences stand at the forefront of a paradigm shift to view human cognition...
Article
Full-text available
Visual field biases have been identified as markers of atypical lateralization in children with developmental conditions, but this is the first investigation to consider early lateralized gaze behaviors for social stimuli in preterm infants. Eye‐tracking methods with 51 preterm (33 male, 92.1% White) and 61 term‐born (31 male, 90.1% White) infants...
Article
Full-text available
Changes in hand morphology throughout human evolution have facilitated the use of forceful pad-to-pad precision grips, contributing to the development of fine motor movement and dexterous manipulation typical of modern humans. Today, variation in human hand function may be affected by demographic and/or lifestyle factors, but these remain largely u...
Article
Full-text available
Although hand grip strength is critical to the daily lives of humans and our arboreal great ape relatives, the human hand has changed in form and function throughout our evolution due to terrestrial bipedalism, tool use, and directional asymmetry (DA) such as handedness. Here we investigate how hand form and function interact in modern humans to ga...
Article
The last decade of laterality research has been bolstered by a significant broadening in theoretical framing and investigative approaches. Comparative research contributions continue to strengthen the position that ancient functional and anatomical brain biases are preserved in modern humans. However, how they unfold over developmental time and con...
Article
Full-text available
Evolution has endowed vertebrates with a divided brain that allows for processing of critical survival behaviours in parallel. Most humans possess a standard functional brain organisation for these ancient sensory-motor behaviours, favouring the right hemisphere for fight-or-flight processes and the left hemisphere for performing structured motor s...
Article
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Article
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Cerebral lateralisation of function is common characteristic across vertebrate species and is positively associated with fitness of the organism, in humans we hypothesise that it is associated with cognitive fitness. This investigation evaluated the early development of lateralised gaze behaviour for face stimuli in infants at high and low risk for...
Article
Full-text available
A population-level left cradling bias exists whereby 60-90% of mothers hold their infants on the left side. This left biased positioning appears to be mutually beneficial to both the mother and the baby's brain organization for processing of socio-emotional stimuli. Previous research connected cradling asymmetries and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD...
Article
Full-text available
Some evolutionary-developmental psychologists, like me, argue that cerebral lateralization, the dominance of one hemisphere for certain behaviours, sets the stage for the emergence of higher cognitive functions.
Chapter
Cerebral lateralization and associated motor behaviors were historically thought to be characteristics unique to humans. Today, it is clear that these features are present and visible in other animal species. These shared attributes of brain and behavior suggest inheritance from a distant common ancestor. Population-level motor biases are likely to...
Book
Cerebral Lateralization and Cognition: Evolutionary and Developmental Investigations of Motor Biases, Volume 238, the latest release in the Progress in Brain Research series, discusses interdisciplinary research on the influence of cerebral lateralization on cognition within an evolutionary framework. Chapters of note in this release include Evolut...
Article
A robust left side cradling bias (LCB) in humans is argued to reflect an evolutionarily old left visual field bias and right hemisphere dominance for processing social stimuli. A left visual field bias for face processing, invoked via the LCB, is known to reflect a human population-level right cerebral hemisphere specialization for processing socia...
Presentation
Full-text available
Objectives. Cradling behavior, one of the main interactions in which the dyad is engaged during the first moments of infant's life, represents a clear instance of functional asymmetry, 60-90% of infants being held on the left of their mother’s body. As this asymmetrical cradling behavior seems to be related to socio-emotional competencies of both m...
Article
What happens when we go into shock? Anyone who has undergone a trauma remembers the strange mental and physical feelings such a moment brings, unlike any other. The feelings that came over us, the way the world changed shape, speed and sometimes colour, the superhuman strength we can feel, the incidental, insignificant details we notice and remembe...
Article
Full-text available
A retired doctor with a granddaughter with autism describes the relationship between hand dominance and development. Includes remarks from a doctor currently researching handedness and cognitive development.
Article
So you think you're bad at public speaking? Sir Isaac Newton was apparently so dull that no-one came to his lectures at all. Unperturbed, he gave them to an empty room. You can also be too interesting. American architect and inventor Buckminster Fuller once gave a talk called 'Everything I Know'. It lasted for 42 hours, with the first short break o...
Chapter
Historically, many human cognitive competencies have been considered unique and not expressed by other animal species. An anthropomorphic mindset has thwarted a better understanding of inherited behaviors that have emerged and develop as the result of millions of years of shared evolution with other vertebrates. The behavioral sciences stands at th...
Article
Objective The objective of the current study was to investigate the lateral dominance for a bimanually coordinated natural feeding behavior in semi-wild chimpanzees.Methods Strychnos spp. fruit consumption behaviors in semi-wild chimpanzees as an ecologically comparable feeding behavior to those found in cerebral lateralization studies of non-prima...
Article
Full-text available
Uncorrected Author Proofs provided or use link below to download the published manuscript: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/7SzUevHna7xgKWFxsciQ/full Commentary on: Goldin-Meadow, S. (2015). Studying the mechanisms of language learning by varying the learning environment and the learner. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online pub...
Article
Full-text available
The influence of the social environment on lateralized behaviors has now been investigated across a wide variety of animal species. New evidence suggests that the social environment can modulate behavior. Currently, there is a paucity of data relating to how primates navigate their environmental space, and investigations that consider the naturalis...
Article
Full-text available
The influence of the social environment on lateralized behaviors has now been investigated across a wide variety of animal species. New evidence suggests that the social environment can modulate behavior. Currently, there is a paucity of data relating to how primates navigate their environmental space and investigations that consider the naturalist...
Article
There is a common prevailing perception that humans possess a species-unique population-level right-hand bias that has evolutionary links with language. New theories suggest that an early evolutionary division of cognitive function gave rise to a left-hemisphere bias for behaviours underpinned by structured sequences of actions. However, studies of...
Data
Investigations of human laterality suggest motor preference is not arbitrary, but rather represents an evolutionary bias stemming from the asymmetric organization of underlying neural function for skilled action. The most prominent manifestation of lateralized motor behavior in humans is right-handedness. While human right-handedness provides a hig...
Chapter
Full-text available
Investigations of human laterality suggest motor preference is not arbitrary, but rather represents an evolutionary bias stemming from the asymmetric organization of underlying neural function for skilled action. The most prominent manifestation of lateralized motor behavior in humans is right-handedness. While human right-handedness provides a hig...
Article
Full-text available
We employed a bottom-up, quantitative method to investigate great ape handedness. Our previous investigation of gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) demonstrated that contextual information influenced an individual's handedness toward target objects. Specifically, we found a significant right-hand bias for unimanual actions directed toward inanimate...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated the unimanual actions of a biological family group of twelve western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) using a methodological approach designed to assess behavior within social context from a bottom-up perspective. Measures of both the lateralization of unimanual actions (left, right) and the target of the action (animate,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Although evidence of handedness has been reported in both human and non-human primates, the evolution of this trait remains controversial. To further the investigation of the evolution of human brain and behavioural lateralization, the physical actions of 12 western low-land gorillas and 9 chimpanzees were observed in a naturalistic setting. Specif...
Article
Studies of animal behaviour reveal that some species have cognitive skills once believed to be evolutionary adaptations unique to humans (e.g. tool use). While our ability to comprehend and generate spontaneous and novel phrases with underlying semantic and syntactic structure still sets us apart from other animal species, exactly how modern human...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Communication is a dynamic and cognitively distributed process that enlists all of our available senses. Like Humans, animals integrate sensory signals to enhance or change the significance of a single signal. However, to date, studies of animal communication have generally focused on a single sensory channel within a limited linear framework. This...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A novel method for recording primate behavior was used in order to facilitate the analysis of multimodal communication in gorillas. Each observation consisted of a 15-minute video focal follow on one of four predetermined individuals from a family group, between May and August 2004, at the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, Kent, UK. Two digital video c...
Article
We investigated the sensitivity of brain areas to the presence of filtering operations during overt visual search in crowded displays. Task conditions involved either visual search or predetermined simple eye movements for the detection of target digits. Furthermore, visual displays either contained letter foils that required filtering or contained...
Article
We developed a behavioral task for spatial orienting of attention in which the same physical stimulus cued covert peripheral shifts of attention to either the left or the right visual fields in different conditions. The design enabled us to record the brain activity engaged during spatial shifts of covert attention that was independent from the phy...
Article
Full-text available
PET was used to image the neural system underlying visuospatial attention. Analysis of data at both the group and individual-subject level provided anatomical resolution superior to that described to date. Six right-handed male subjects were selected from a pilot behavioural study in which behavioural responses and eye movements were recorded. The...
Article
Epidural event related potentials (ERPs) were recorded from four squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) during the presentation of pictoral stimuli that comprised real human and monkey faces. Subjects viewed tachistoscopically presented stimuli belonging to four different categories: familiar and unfamiliar human faces, and familiar and unfamiliar mon...

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Projects (2)
Project
Me, Human is a series of public science events which explore who humans are and how we are connected to the natural world. Discover cutting-edge research, take part in fun psychology experiments and contribute to our understanding of brain and behaviour.