The authors examined the relationship of corpus callosum (CC) morphology and organization to hand preference and performance on a motor skill task in chimpanzees. Handedness was assessed using a complex tool use task that simulated termite fishing. Chimpanzees were initially allowed to perform the task wherein they could choose which hand to use (preference measure), then they were required to complete trials using each hand (performance measure). Two measures were used to assess the CC: midsagittal area obtained from in vivo magnetic resonance images and density of transcallosal connections as determined by fractional anisotropy values obtained from diffusion tensor imaging. The authors hypothesized that chimpanzees would perform better on their preferred hand compared to the nonpreferred hand, and that strength of behavioral lateralization (rather the direction) on this task would be negatively correlated to regions of the CC involved in motor processing. Results indicate that the preferred hand was the most adept hand. Performance asymmetries correlated with fractional anisotropy measures but not area measures of the CC.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
American Psychological Association
Phillips, K.A., Schaeffer, J., Barrett, E., & Hopkins, W.D. (2013). Performance asymmetries in tool use are associated with corpus callosum integrity in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): A diffusion tensor imaging study. Behavioral Neuroscience, 127(1), 106-113. doi:10.1037/a0031089