Eye-dominance, Writing Hand, and Throwing Hand

I. C. McManus, C. Porac, M. P. Bryden, R. Boucher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Handedness and eye-dominance are undoubtedly associated statistically, although a previous meta-analysis has found that the precise relationship is difficult to explain, with about 35% of right-handers and 57% of left-handers being left eye dominant. Of particular difficulty to genetic or other models is that the proportions are distributed asymmetrically around 50%. The present study asked whether this complicated pattern of association occurred because, following Peters, it is necessary to divide right-and left-handers into consistent handers (who write and throw with the same hand) and inconsistent handers (who write and throw with opposite hands). In an analysis of 10,635 subjects from questionnaire studies, 28.8% of left-handers and 1.6% of right-handers by writing were inconsistent for throwing. Our results also showed that writing hand and throwing hand both relate independently to eyedness, that throwing hand is somewhat more strongly associated with eyedness, and that the awkward asymmetry around 50% is now removed, 24.2% of consistent right-handers being left eye dominant compared with 72.3% of consistent left-handers, and 55.4% of inconsistent right-handers compared with 47.0% of inconsistent left-handers. We conclude that eyedness is phenotypically secondary to writing and throwing handedness. In our discussion we note that eyedness runs in families, we present new data suggesting that writing hand and throwing hand are co-inherited, and we argue that further data are now required to model properly the associations of writing hand, throwing hand, and eyedness, as well as probably also footedness and language dominance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-192
Number of pages20
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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