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Title: Phonology and handedness in primary school: predictions of the right shift theory
Authors: Smythe, Pamela
Annett, Marian
First Published: Feb-2006
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Citation: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2006, 47 (2), pp.205-212
Abstract: Background:  The right shift (RS) theory of handedness suggests that poor phonology may occur in the general population as a risk associated with absence of an agent of left cerebral speech, the hypothesised RS + gene. The theory predicts that poor phonology is associated with reduced bias to right-handedness. Methods:  A representative cohort of primary school children was assessed on tests of phonology, nonverbal ability, literacy, and handedness. There were three types of analysis; for discrete variables, poor phonology and left hand preference; for continuous variables, phonology factor scores and hand skill; for ‘cases’ of specifically poor phonology. Results:  Reduced bias to dextrality was found in those with poor phonology for all types of analysis. Trends were similar for both sexes but stronger in males than females. Poor phonology was associated with a raised proportion of left-handed brothers. There was a strong association between poor phonology and poor literacy, but not all those with specifically poor phonology were poor readers or spellers. Among children with poor phonology but not poor for other variables, some 23–31% were left-handed writers. Conclusions:  Poor phonological processing is associated with reduced bias to the right hand, consistent with absence of an agent of left hemisphere advantage.
DOI Link: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2005.01463.x
ISSN: 0021-9630
eISSN: 1469-7610
Version: Post print
Status: Peer reviewed
Type: Article
Rights: Copyright © Association for Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2005. Deposited with reference to the Journal Exclusive Licence Form, which permits posting of the accepted version of the Article as originally submitted for publication in the Journal, and updated to include any amendments made after peer review, 24 months after publication. The definitive version is available at
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Psychology

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