How the development of handedness could contribute to the development of language

Dev Psychobiol. 2013 Sep;55(6):608-20. doi: 10.1002/dev.21121. Epub 2013 Jun 10.


We propose a developmental process which may link the development of handedness with the development of hemispheric specialization for speech processing. Using Arbib's proposed sequence of sensorimotor development of manual skills and gestures (that he considers to be the basis of speech gestures and proto-language), we show how the development of hand-use preferences in proto-reaching skills concatenate into object acquisition skills and eventually into role-differentiated bimanual manipulation skills (that reflect interhemispheric communication and coordination). These latter sensorimotor skills might facilitate the development of speech processing via their influence on the development of tool-using and object management abilities.

Keywords: embodied cognition; handedness development; hemispheric specialization; infants; language.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Gestures
  • Humans
  • Language Development*
  • Language*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Speech / physiology