Recent studies with large sample size have reported moderate heritability of hand preference. However, little is known about genetic and environmental factors for lateral preference. We examined the genetic and environmental factors for hand, foot, and ear preferences using a twin design study. A lateral preference questionnaire was administered to twin participants (N=956). Phenotypic correlation matrices of lateral preferences were computed for monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs, and were subjected to Cholesky decomposition to compute additive genetic and unique environmental correlation matrices. Promax rotation factor analysis of each genetic and environmental correlation matrix yielded six genetic and four environmental factors. Factor-loading patterns for these factors indicated that hand and foot lateral activities were affected by different genetic factors. By contrast, each of the four environmental factors was mainly associated with hand, foot, or ear preference. These results suggest that the genetic structure for lateral preference may be more complex than the environmental structure. In particular, hand preference may be multidimensional in terms of genetic factors.
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