Correlations Between Hand Preference and Cortical Thickness in the Secondary Somatosensory (SII) Cortex of the Common Marmoset, Callithrix jacchus

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Journal Article
Behavioral Neuroscience, 2008, 122 (6), pp. 1343 - 1351
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Cortical asymmetries are well established in humans for language and motor regions and correlate with handedness. Here the authors investigate structural differences in the hemispheres of left- and right-handed common marmosets using surface photography and histology. The hand preferences of 11 marmosets were assessed over their adult life span using a simple reaching task. A significant correlation was found between the length of the right lateral sulcus/brain weight and the % right-hand preference (r = .86, p = .001). Cortical thickness on the superior bank of the right lateral sulcus posteriorly was also positively correlated with % right-hand preference (r = .69, p = .025). Comparison of this site with previously published functional maps of the marmoset cortex show this area corresponds to SII, a region involved in tactile processing and somatosensory discriminations. It is suggested that the correlation between SII thickness and right-hand preference would be consistent with the fact that right-handed marmosets are more proactive than left-handers in exploring novel objects by touch. Enlargement of a cortical area involved tactile discriminations could be a precursor to the evolution of right-handedness as a population bias. © 2008 American Psychological Association.
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