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Assessment and analysis of human laterality for manipulation and communication using the Rennes Laterality Questionnaire

Abstract : Despite significant scientific advances, the nature of the left-hemispheric systems involved in language (speech and gesture) and manual actions is still unclear. To date, investigations of human laterality focused mainly on non-communication functions. Although gestural laterality data have been published for infants and children, relatively little is known about laterality of human gestural communication. This study investigated human laterality in depth considering non-communication manipulation actions and various gesture types involving hands, feet, face and ears. We constructed an online laterality questionnaire including 60 items related to daily activities. We collected 317 594 item responses by 5904 randomly selected participants. The highest percentages of strong left-lateralized (6.76%) and strong right-lateralized participants (75.19%) were for manipulation actions. The highest percentages of mixed left-lateralized (12.30%) and ambidextrous (50.23%) participants were found for head-related gestures. The highest percentage of mixed right-lateralized participants (55.33%) was found for auditory gestures. Every behavioural category showed a significant population-level right-side bias. More precisely, participants were predominantly right-lateralized for non-communication manual actions, for visual iconic, visual symbolic, visual deictic (with and without speech), tactile and auditory manual gestures as well as for podial and head-related gestures. Our findings support previous studies reporting that humans have left-brain predominance for gestures and complex motor activities such as tool-use. Our study shows that the Rennes Laterality Questionnaire is a useful research instrument to assess and analyse human laterality for both manipulation and communication functions.
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Jacques Prieur, Stéphanie Barbu, Catherine Blois-Heulin. Assessment and analysis of human laterality for manipulation and communication using the Rennes Laterality Questionnaire. Royal Society Open Science, The Royal Society, 2017, 4 (8), pp.170035. ⟨10.1098/rsos.170035⟩. ⟨hal-01576485⟩

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