The development of neuromotor skills and hand preference during infancy

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
George F. Michel, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Assessing infant handedness has been controversial. Different assessment techniques and theoretical approaches produce different results. Evidence from a dynamic systems perspective showed that the development of postural control during infancy affects the expression of an infant's handedness. However, others found that developmental changes in postural control influenced the amount of symmetrical(bimanual) reaching during infancy, but not hand preference. Since most studies of infant handedness use age to assess development, perhaps measures of an infant's developing neuromotor control, irrespective of age, would better predict changes in an infant's hand preference. To assess neuromotor development, items from [Touwen's (1976) Neurological development in infancy. Lavenham, Suffolk: The Lavenham Press, LTD]. “Group III” indices were used. These items assess developmental changes in neuromotor abilities throughout the 6–14-month age period. Hand preference for acquiring objects was measured during these same months. Group Based Trajectory Models (GBTM) of 380 infants identified four different groups of infants according to the trajectory of the development of their hand preferences (32% Early Right, 12%Early Left, 25% Late Right, 30% No Preference). A multilevel model was used to compare these four developmental trajectories according to age and neuromotor development. Age, not neuromotor development, is a better predictor of differences in developmental trajectories of the four hand preference groups. However, Late Right infants are significantly less developed at 6 months than No Preference, Early Right and Left infants and both Early Right and Left infants are most advanced at 6 months. All groups exhibit similar rates of neuromotor development indicating no “catch-up” by the Late Right infants. Thus, any assessment of infant handedness will incorporate necessarily four groups of infants with differently developing hand preferences and neuromotor abilities.

Additional Information

Developmental Psychobiology 2017; 1–11
Language: English
Date: 2017
infant hand preference, lateralization, locomotion, longitudinal, neuromotor ability

Email this document to