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Malcove, L. (1941). Studies in Infant Behaviour: By Ruth Klein Lederer and Janet Redfield. Iowa City: University of Iowa, 1939. 157 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 10:481-482.

(1941). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 10:481-482

Studies in Infant Behaviour: By Ruth Klein Lederer and Janet Redfield. Iowa City: University of Iowa, 1939. 157 pp.

Review by:
Lillian Malcove

Two students' dissertations, requirements for a doctorate degree, comprise the 1939 July issue of Studies in Child Welfare, a periodical which publishes the research work of the Iowa Child Welfare Research Station. The first study is devoted to an exploratory investigation of the 'handedness' question in the first two years of life and the second study is on the light sense in the newborn.

The first study, Miss Lederer's, very methodically and classically begins with historical references (Plato and Aristotle) and ends with an imposing list of forty-five references. A useful appendix appears at the end of the book. The first four chapters lead up to and include the setting up of tests and a description of the testing, whereas the fifth and sixth chapters are devoted to the analysis of the material from the point of view of the development of handedness and the causation of dominance (innate and/or environmental). The last chapter is a summary. The individual interested only in the findings and not in methodology can pick up the essence of the material in the last three chapters.

Miss Lederer's experiments were the first of its kind and were begun in 1934. In support of her findings are a number of factors inherent in the methodology, such as the length of time the experiments were carried out, the use of different types of handedness activities for tests as well as the carefulness of the tests. Care was taken to distinguish chance from significant results, all results were compared to previous experiments, and so on. Of the theoretical aspects, the following are some interesting findings. The initial period of ambidexterity, assumed as a fact by most authors, cannot be taken for granted. In one group, age three to eight months, over sixty-six per cent of the infants showed a preference for one hand. The same number showed left-handed as well as right-handed preference in the six to twelve month group, irrespective of sex. This latter fact was probably responsible for the fallacious general conclusion of initial ambidexterity. Change in handedness occurs more frequently in left preference and in the first year.

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