Jason Flindall

Project Description

My research focuses on answering a simple question: why are we right-handed? We are unique among the great apes in that some 90% of us prefer to use our right-hands for grasping, pointing, and other prehensile actions. However, there doesn’t seem to be any clear reason why this should be; we prefer to use our right hands for grasping, but our left hands are just as good (with respect to kinematics, at least) at accomplishing most everyday grasping tasks. Is our right-hand preference shaped by training, or by virtue of living in a right-handed world? Maybe, but then again left-handers prefer to use their right hands for a surprising number of tasks, including some for which there is no obvious environmental reason (grasping very small items, for example). Is it some advantage in how we process right or left visual space? Maybe, but most evidence suggests a slight advantage/preference for processing vision in the left visual hemifield. 
Maybe hemispheric asymmetries in the brain are the cause? Maybe, but left/right hand use asymmetries can be found prenatally, before the brain is physically connected to those hands - also, if neural asymmetries are responsible for behavioural asymmetries (as they almost certainly are), that just begs the question: why are our brains organised as they are?
I use motion capture, gaze tracking, psychophysical techniques (continuous flash supression, tachistoscopy, etc), and good old fashioned surveys to investigate the details and sources of behavioural asymmetries. 

Research Interests

Neuromechanics

Research Methodology

Motion capture
Eye tracking
Psychophysical methods
Virtual Reality

Faculty

Faculty of Arts