Visuospatial reaching preferences of common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus): an assessment of individual biases across a variety of tasks.
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Using multiple measures of hand preference, the authors investigated lateralization at an individual level in 21 common marmosets. Despite showing group biases for sensory and communication functions, these same marmosets did not show a group bias in direction of lateralized hand use. Hand preferences were recorded on four novel reaching tasks requiring different levels of visual guidance and postural control. As found for simple food holding (with the same subjects), they displayed strong individual hand preferences but no group bias indicative of handedness. The strength of hand preference was influenced by task demands: stronger preferences were expressed when subjects adopted a suspended posture, and when "successful" versus "unsuccessful" foraging strategies were compared. Comparisons between visuospatial reaching and simple food holding preferences also revealed that half of the subjects displayed a division of function between the hands/hemispheres; subjects displayed opposing preferences in simple and visuospatial reaching, which would be beneficial for the performance of coordinated bimanual tasks. Given the apparent absence of a selective advantage for handedness, the authors suggest that hand preferences may reflect hemispheric dominance of other cognitive domains (i.e., temperament).