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December 2021

Foundations of a functional theory of human handedness

Journal/Book: Theor Psychol. 2000; 10: 2455 Teller Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, USA. Sage Publications Inc. 375-398.

Abstract: A functional theory of human handedness is introduced based on early childhood experiences and the neural plasticity of the brain. It assumes that very different factors may be involved in the development of an individual left-handedness. Imitation and social learning are major factors in the formation of both right- and left-handedness in normal early childhood development. However, the frequently claimed relation between left-handedness and pathology as well as exceptional giftedness can only be understood by taking into account the function or meaning of left-handedness for personality development. The functional approach conceives left-handedness as a ubiquitous symbolic aid for coping creatively with conflict in early childhood. A childrearing style that clashes with the child's body-mind needs can lead the socioculturally less favored left hand to serve as a symbolic frame of reference for a meaning-making action repertoire that is fundamental in protecting and stabilizing the childhood self and personality development. Suggestions are derived regarding brain lateralization and handedness and for the diagnosis of early childhood disorders.

Note: Article Janssen JP, Strohsiek 14, D-33613 Bielefeld, GERMANY

Keyword(s): brain disorders; exceptional giftedness; functionalism; handedness; personality development; phenomenology; self-perception; theory formulation; PRIMARY SOMATOSENSORY CORTEX; HAND PREFERENCE; LANGUAGE; LATERALIZATION; SCHIZOPHRENIA; DOMINANCE; GENETICS; MONKEYS; SYSTEM

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