Protocol - Hand Dominance - 12 Years and Older

Add to Toolkit

Protocol Name from Source:

Edinburgh Handedness Inventory


Publicly available


The protocol consists of questions to determine which hand the participant uses for a series of activities.


The following protocol is part of a personal interview in which the participant reports on his/her own hand usage. Young Adult and Adult handedness is assessed using an 11-item scale. Please indicate your preferences in the use of hands in the following activities by putting a 1 in the appropriate column (for right only, left only, or both hands) for each item that you use.

Right hand

Left hand

Both hands

1. Write

2. Draw

3. Throw

4. Hold a racquet

5. Clean teeth

6. Hammer

7. Strike a match

8. Use an eraser

9. Deal cards

10. Thread a needle

11. Cut food with a knife


Scoring: The participant indicates use by a "1" in the appropriate column (for right, left, or both) for each item that an adult uses. Add the "1"s in each column to get a total for that column. The sum of all three column totals is the cumulative total. To calculate the score: 100 x (right total - left total)/cumulative total. Handedness is then classified as follows:


Less than -40left-handed
Greater than or equal to -40 and less than 40mixed-handed
Greater than or equal to 40right-handed
Note: The activities listed in the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory method have been modified by the PhenX Anthropometrics Working Group.

Personnel and Training Required

The trained interviewer should be able to administer a questionnaire and be able to probe for information as necessary.

Equipment Needs



Requirement CategoryRequired
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individualNo
Major equipmentNo
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collectionNo
Specialized trainingNo

Mode of Administration


Life Stage:

Adolescent, Adult, Senior

Specific Instructions:


Research Domain Information

Release Date:

October 1, 2015


Dominance is measured to assess the movement, mobility, and flexibility of an individual to determine which side of the body the study subject favors or the strength of hand activity.


This measure is used to determine which hand is dominant or more skilled for fine motor tasks than the other. Of the general population, about 90% have right hand dominance, about 10% have left hand dominance, and about 1% are mixed-handed or can use either hand interchangeably to complete a fine motor task (Porac & Coren, 1981). Hand dominance is thought to be influenced by genetics, and loci for relative hand skill have been mapped.

Selection Rationale

The Edinburgh Handedness Inventory was selected because of the detail of the activities that are performed.




Common Data Elements (CDE)Preference Hand Laterality2180147CDE Browser
Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC)Hand dom- 12Y proto EHI56101-9LOINC

Process and Review

The [link[phenx.org/node/62|Expert Review Panel #1]] reviewed the measures in the Anthropometrics, Diabetes, Physical Activity and Physical Fitness, and Nutrition and Dietary Supplements domains.

Guidance from the ERP includes:

• Revised description of measure

Back-compatible: no changes to Data Dictionary

Previous version in Toolkit archive ([link[www.phenxtoolkit.org/index.php?pageLink=browse.archive.protocols&id=20000|link]])


Oldfield, R. C. (1971). The assessment and analysis of handedness: The Edinburgh inventory. Neuropsychologia, 9, 97-113.

General References

Porac, C., & Coren, S. (1981). Lateral preferences and human behavior. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Protocol ID:



Export Variables
Variable NameVariable IDVariable DescriptionVersiondbGaP Mapping
PX020602_Hand_WritePX020602010000Please indicate your preferences in the use of hands in writing.4Variable Mapping
PX020602_Hand_DrawPX020602020000Please indicate your preferences in the use of hands in drawing.4Variable Mapping
PX020602_Hand_ThrowPX020602030000Please indicate your preferences in the use of hands in throwing.4Variable Mapping
PX020602_Hand_Hold_RacquetPX020602040000Please indicate your preferences in the use of hands in holding a racquet.4Variable Mapping
PX020602_Hand_Clean_TeethPX020602050000Please indicate your preferences in the use of hands in cleaning teeth.4Variable Mapping
PX020602_Hand_HammerPX020602060000Please indicate your preferences in the use of hands in hammering.4Variable Mapping
PX020602_Hand_Strike_MatchPX020602070000Please indicate your preferences in the use of hands in striking a match.4Variable Mapping
PX020602_Hand_Use_EraserPX020602080000Please indicate your preferences in the use of hands in using an eraser.4Variable Mapping
PX020602_Hand_Deal_CardPX020602090000Please indicate your preferences in the use of hands in dealing cards.4Variable Mapping
PX020602_Hand_Thread_NeedlePX020602100000Please indicate your preferences in the use of hands in threading a needle.4Variable Mapping
PX020602_Hand_Cut_FoodPX020602110000Please indicate your preferences in the use of hands in cutting food with a knife.4Variable Mapping
PX020602_Hand_Total_RightPX020602120100How many "Right hand" in Questions 1-11?4N/A
PX020602_Hand_Total_LeftPX020602120200How many "Left hand" in Questions 1-11?4N/A
PX020602_Hand_Total_BothPX020602120300How many "Both hands" in Questions 1-11?4N/A
PX020602_Handedness_ScorePX020602120400SCORE = 100 x (TOTAL_RIGHT - TOTAL_LEFT) / (TOTAL_RIGHT + TOTAL_LEFT + TOTAL_BOTH)4N/A
PX020602_HandednessPX020602120500Handedness is classified by the score.4Variable Mapping