Medical Education


PhD thesis

Cite as: McManus, I. C. (1979). Determinants of laterality in man (unpublished PhD thesis, University of Cambridge).

Thesis binding

My PhD thesis must be one of the very last to have actually been typed, by a real typist on a real typewriter, with a top copy and three carbon copies, the drafts coming back to me, and the corrections then being put in with Tippex. The result is that there is no proper electronically readable copy. However a photocopy of the top copy has now been scanned in as PDF files, and although they are rather large and of course they are not searchable, they are at least legible.

The entire thesis is an extremely large PDF file (84.25 MB), and if wanted it can be downloaded here.

For those who wish to search the thesis electronically the original files have also been scanned using an OCR program, and can be used for searching. However it should be remembered that the version is not necessarily accurate, and therefore should be checked against the scanned images of each chapter. The searchable OCR version of the entire thesis as a PDF file (9.54 MB) can be accessed by clicking here.

Title page, Summary, Contents and Acknowledgements (405 kB, .pdf)
Chapter 1: Introduction ( 184 kB, .pdf)
Part I: The biology of laterality
Chapter 2:  The structure of handedness (2.02 MB, .pdf)
Chapter 3:  Handedness and birth stress ( 1.04 MB, .pdf)
Chapter 4:  Handedness in twins (593 kB, .pdf)
Chapter 5:  Left-handedness and epilepsy (254 kB, .pdf)
Chapter 6:  Pathological left-handedness: does it exist? (2.06 MB, .pdf)

Chapter 7:  A genetic model for handedness (3.16 MB, .pdf)

Chapter 7:  A genetic model for handedness [colour version] (22.66 MB, .pdf)

Chapter 8:  A genetic model for speech dominance (4.65 MB, .pdf)

Chapter 8:  A genetic model for speech dominance [colour version] (32.94 MB, .pdf)

Chapter 9:  Hand-clasping and arm-folding (2.46 MB, .pdf)
Chapter 10: What is the advantage of left-handedness? (1.09 MB, .pdf)
Chapter 11: Miscellanea et esoterica chirologia (894 kB, .pdf)
Part II: The symbolism of laterality
Chapter 12: Right-left and the scrotum in Greek sculpture (652 kB, .pdf)
Chapter 13: The significance of the left cheek (4.29 MB, .pdf)
Chapter 14: The meaning of the left cheek (586 kB, .pdf)
Epilogue (319 kB, .pdf)
References (2.33 MB, .pdf)

The thesis had the purposely vague title of Determinants of laterality in man, which allowed me to include almost anything, and in particular to slip in a lot of otherwise unpublished stuff on art. It was submitted in July 1979. However, late in 1979 the would-be external examiner, Professor Peter Broadhurst from Birmingham, announced that he would not have sufficient time to read the thesis, and a new examiner was appointed -- Lyndon Eaves, then also from Birmingham. The result was that the viva did not take place until March 1980. The internal examiner was Professor Oliver Zangwill. Whether the thesis is strictly 1979 or 1980 is not clear to me, but I always cite it as 1979, as that is when it was submitted and is what it says on the title page.  The thesis is cited on the Cambridge University library website with 24th March 1980 as the 'Date approved'