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Lateralisation of Infant Holding in Chimpanzees: New Data Do Not Confirm Previous Findings

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About 80% of human females cradle their infants on the left side of the body. XIANNING & CHAMBERLAIN (1990) found a similar left-side bias for chimpanzees and two other ape species. In the present paper, however, only a slight bias was found which was in contrast - right-sided. The combined results of the two studies do not differ from an homogeneous distribution between 0 and 100% right-sided. When data for 3 ape species and 3 studies are pooled, a significant bias is also absent. Even if a left-side bias were present in apes, comparability with humans is limited. The possible functions of a left-side bias in humans (better hearing of the mother's soothing heartbeat and better visual contact with the left side of the mother's face) might not apply to chimpanzees. For there are relevant behaviour differences between chimpanzees and humans. These concern different ways of holding and carrying, rare crying by ape infants, and rare facial orientation in apes. Moreover, most of the ape infants involved were older than the age at which the human bias is found. For the time being, no convincing evidence for a bias in apes exists.

Affiliations: 1: (Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, ) Child Psychiatry, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 2: (Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, ) Department of Psychology, Lancester University, Lancester LA2 4YF, U.K.; 3: (Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, ) Department of Psychology, Stirling University, Scotland


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