Prenatal Stress and Handedness Among Offspring
Stressful experiences recalled by 270 mothers beginning a year prior to pregnancy through to the end of pregnancy were compared for right, left, and mixed handed offspring of both sexes. For the male offspring, mothers of left handers recalled significantly more severe stress throughout pregnancy than mothers of either right or mixed handers. For the female offspring, no significant differences were found. Results were interpreted as consistent with the view that stress hormones secreted by the mother during pregnancy can significantly affect the hemispheric functioning of the neocortex of offspring.
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Lee Ellis, Ph.D., and William Peckham, B.S.
Lee Ellis received his doctorate at Florida State University, and currently teaches in the Departments of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Minot State University. His research interests include a wide range of behavior patterns, particularly as they may be influenced by neurohormonal factors. Recent publications include a book entitled Theories of Rape (Hemisphere, 1989), and a volume edited with Harry Hoffman, entitled Crime in Biological, Social, and Moral Contexts (Praeger, 1990). William Peckham holds bachelors degrees in physics and mathematics and in computer science at Minot State University. He has taught science and mathematics in high school, and has served as a computer consultant and collaborator on various research projects headed by the senior author. He is currently a systems analyst for St. Joseph's Hospital in Minot, North Dakota.
Address correspondence to Dr. Lee Ellis, Division of Social Science, Minot State University, Minot, ND 58702, USA.