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April 3, 1948

The Master Hand: A Study of the Origin and Meaning of Right and Left Sidedness and Its Relation to Personality and Language

JAMA. 1948;136(14):954. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890310046031

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The subject here considered has attracted much scientific attention in recent years. Some of the author's conclusions may still be debatable. He does not find that preferred laterality or the preference for either the right hand or the left hand is inherited. He considers it a complicated developmental psychologic trait. Evidence indicates that preferred laterality is manifested not only between hands but between eyes, legs and other human functions. Some persons prefer to walk on one side of the street rather than the other. Few ambidextrous persons indeed are equally competent on both sides. Animals do not show preferred laterality as do human beings. In human beings the preference for the right side is a cultural and social convention. An infant does not have any preference for one side or another, but our environment is built on righthandedness and preference for one side or another usually becomes apparent at about

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