Convergent models of handedness and brain lateralization

Front Psychol. 2014 Oct 8:5:1092. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01092. eCollection 2014.


The pervasive nature of handedness across human history and cultures is a salient consequence of brain lateralization. This paper presents evidence that provides a structure for understanding the motor control processes that give rise to handedness. According to the Dynamic Dominance Model, the left hemisphere (in right handers) is proficient for processes that predict the effects of body and environmental dynamics, while the right hemisphere is proficient at impedance control processes that can minimize potential errors when faced with unexpected mechanical conditions, and can achieve accurate steady-state positions. This model can be viewed as a motor component for the paradigm of brain lateralization that has been proposed by Rogers et al. (MacNeilage et al., 2009) that is based upon evidence from a wide range of behaviors across many vertebrate species. Rogers proposed a left-hemisphere specialization for well-established patterns of behavior performed in familiar environmental conditions, and a right hemisphere specialization for responding to unforeseen environmental events. The dynamic dominance hypothesis provides a framework for understanding the biology of motor lateralization that is consistent with Roger's paradigm of brain lateralization.

Keywords: brain lateralization; handedness; laterality; manual asymmetry; motor activity; motor lateralization; motor neurons.

Publication types

  • Review