Deriving estimates of contralateral footedness from prevalence rates in samples of Brazilian and non-Brazilian right- and left-handers

Although footedness is closely associated with handedness, accurate prevalence rates of contralateral footedness in right- and left-handed populations were previously unavailable to researchers studying the relationship between phenotypic and hemispheric asymmetries. We collected preference data from 2081 Brazilian children and adolescents, and relate the prevalence of crossed hand/foot preferences to values reported elsewhere in the literature. In our samples, about 4% of the dextrals and 33% of the sinistrals exhibited a contralateral kicking preference. This is in close agreement with the weighted means from our analysis of 19 papers in the literature, which yields 4.0% left-footed kicking in dextrals and 33.5% right-footed kicking in sinistrals. These values are in marked contrast to the 50% figure for right-footed kicking in sinistrals as given by MacNeilage and colleagues (1988, 1991). Among Brazilians with mixed handedness, there was a substantial increase in incongruent footedness. Male consistent right- and left-handers showed a higher prevalence of cross-footed preferences in their kicking preference than females. The sex difference in dextrals was attributed to a training effect in soccer-related activities, and to a sampling bias in sinistrals.

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