Medical Education



Below are various resources for studies of handedness and lateralisation 


I am often asked for a handedness questionnaire for use in studies. While I am sure that it is useful to use questionnaires, I am not convinced that any particular questionnaire available meets all of the various requirements, and therefore I have not produced a generic instrument suitable for all purposes. Those who wish to use such questionnaires are directed to the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory, or the Waterloo Handedness Questionnaire (see below), both of which have their strengths and weaknesses. Those wishing to use the questions I have used might find the following useful.

Cambridge 1977This is the first handedness questionnaire I ever used, which was in my PhD thesis, and which is described in detail there. For a scanned PDF of the questionnaire itself, click here.
Handedness Picture QuestionnaireThis questionnaire was devised in response to the challenge of deciding whether Leonardo da Vinci was left-handed. Leonardo described a task that cannot easily be asked about in words alone, and we therefore included pairs of photographs to illustrate both this task and also a range of other tasks that cannot easily be described in words. As well as in the Leonardo paper, the questionnaire has also been used in the study of handedness in Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia, (click here for the full Adult or Child versions, which differ mainly in whether they ask about smoking), and as the basis of the questionnaire for the website of Right Hand, Left Hand. Notes on the scoring of the questionnaire are provided here.
Family Handedness QuestionnaireThis questionnaire was written for the follow-up of the National Childhood Encephalopathy Study, where it was of interest to compare the lateralisation of cases and matched controls (and 25.5% of cases were left-handed compared with 12.4% of controls). The main intention was to collect detailed information on as wide a range of relatives as efficiently as possible, and a similar approach has subsequently been used in the questionnaire for the website of Right Hand, Left Hand. Detailed analyses of the family trees were presented in a paper that used a maximum likelihood method to extract the entire information available in a family tree.
Brief Handedness QuestionnaireA few years ago I was asked to write a one-page handedness questionnaire for a proposed large study and I produced an earlier version of this questionnaire. The study never took place but this version, which underwent minor revision at the beginning of 2009, probably asks a large proportion of the basic items of information for which one would like answers. The notes say a little about the interpretation of the questions. 
 Waterloo Handedness Questionnaires and Footedness Questionnaire

The Waterloo Handedness Questionnaire was developed by Phil Bryden and his collaborators at the University of Waterloo in the 1980s and 1990s. There are several different versions, and none seems to be readily available, and therefore PDFs are available here which show the content. The 60-item version, and also a revised, 15-item version [see below) were scanned from paper, and as can be seen, one was faxed to me by Phil about a month before his death. Also here are the original papers with Runa Steenhuis et al describing a 32-item version, and the paper by Lorin Elias et al describing both a revised 36-item handedness questionnaire, and the 12-item Waterloo Footedness Questionnaire.

The 15-item questionnaire was developed by Russ Boucher, Phil Bryden and Eric Roy, and the work was presented by Russ at SONG [1]. In my file I also have a draft manuscript dated September 1996 [2], which was started before Phil Bryden's death, but presumably finalised after. I have no record of it ever having been submitted for publication and can find no sign of it on the internet. A scanned version of the manuscript is therefore provided here (but it is very large - 16Mb) as well as a much smaller searchable version. The paper can presumably be cited as reference 2 below, along with this web address.

1. Boucher, R. (1996). "A construct approach to the assessment of handedness". Paper presented at the Fall meeting of the Southern Ontario Neuropsychology Group.
2. Boucher,R., Bryden,M.P and Roy,E.A. (1996) "A construct approach to the assessment of handedness", unpublished manuscript.