Document Detail

Lateral biases for holding infants: early opinions, observations, and explanations, with some possible lessons for theory and research today.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12030474     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In 1962, the psychologist Lee Salk reported finding that 80% of mothers held their infants on the left side of their body, so that the infant's head was to their left. Salk's finding has been amply confirmed, with new studies of mothers as well as other adults reporting figures for left-side holding ranging from 60 to 85% (e.g., de Chateau, 1983; Harris & Fitzgerald, 1985; Harris, Almerigi, & Kirsch, 2000). New studies also suggest that the bias is only for holding infants (or infant dolls), not for books, packages, or other objects (e.g., Almerigi, Carbary, & Harris, 2001; Rheingold & Keene, 1965). The possibility that it is unique to infants (or their likenesses) is what gives it special interest for investigators who study laterality of function. The discovery of the bias is often credited to Salk, but it would be more accurate to say that he rediscovered it because it was first noted at least two hundred years earlier, then, evidently, forgotten, only to be rediscovered and again forgotten several times through the early decades of the twentieth century. Over this period, however, not all agreed that the preferred side was the left: a nearly equal number said it was the right. Each group also proposed explanations for why one or the other side was preferred. They also foresaw different consequences for the infant being held. In the 1980s, I briefly described some of the early reports in essays on the history of theories and research on laterality of function (Harris, 1980, 1983). A manuscript now in preparation provides a more comprehensive description and evaluation of these reports and suggests certain lessons they may hold for current theory and research. The poster proposed for TENNET XII will summarize the main points of this new review and analysis. The poster will be organized into 6 sections, with bulleted text accompanied by drawings, photographs, and other illustrations. The plan is to make the story as visual as possible.
Lauren Julius Harris
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Brain and cognition     Volume:  48     ISSN:  0278-2626     ISO Abbreviation:  Brain Cogn     Publication Date:    2002 Mar-Apr
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2002-05-27     Completed Date:  2002-10-16     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8218014     Medline TA:  Brain Cogn     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  392-4     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Brain / physiology*
Functional Laterality / physiology*
Psychological Theory*
Psychomotor Performance*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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