Handedness prevalence in the deaf: meta-analyses

Autor/a: PAPADATOU PASTOU, Marietta; SÁFÁR, Anna
Año: 2016
Editorial: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, nº 60 (2016) pp. 98–114
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística, Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


An under-investigated aspect of handedness, a biological proxy for cerebral laterality for language, is its prevalence amongst deaf individuals. We present four sets of meta-analyses on studies measuring handedness prevalence in deaf individuals, comprising 31 data sets and totaling 5,392 participants (4,606 deaf, 786 hearing). Deaf individuals were found to be 2.61 times more likely to be non-right-handed and 2.25 times more likely to be left-handed compared to their hearing counterparts. When handedness was measured by means of manipulative actions, the weighted estimates of handedness prevalence for deaf populations were 17.70% and 14.70% for non-right- and left-handedness respectively; when handedness was measured by means of sign actions, the prevalence was 10.60% and 9.70%, respectively. Yet, when comparing studies that measured handedness in the same deaf individuals using both manipulative and sign actions, no difference was found in their handedness prevalence. This pattern is taken to suggest that the higher prevalence of atypical handedness in the deaf population may be linked to delayed language acquisition.