Handedness and social anxiety: using Bryden's research as a catalyst to explore the influence of familial sinistrality and degree of handedness

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Phil Bryden's work has impacted on many areas of laterality, including degree and measurement of hand preference, as well as influences of familial sinistrality (FS). For example, Bryden[(1977). Measuring handedness with questionnaires. Neuropsychologia, 15, 617–624] is a well-cited and influential paper that remains relevant to this day. Inspired by this we extended our analysis of the relationship between handedness and anxiety in a number of ways. We used familial handedness and strength of handedness to examine their potential influences on anxiety, and extended our research by exploring their relationship to social anxiety, using the Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN). Inconsistent left-handers (ILH) were found to be more socially anxious. In all categories of SPIN except avoidance, ILH were significantly more anxious than consistent right- and left-handers. There were FS differences between ILH with a first degree left-handed relative (FS+) compared to ILH with no first degree left-handed relative (FS−) on all categories of anxiety scores. Within FS+ participants, ILH had significantly higher anxiety scores, compared with consistent handers across all categories. This suggests that ILH's social anxiety may be influenced by a close left-handed relative. Inspired by examining Bryden's work for this special issue, we will continue to add both strength of preference and familial handedness to our work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-347
Number of pages19
JournalLaterality: Asymmetries of Body
Issue number4-6
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2016


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