This study evaluated laterality in scratching by chimpanzees (n = 89) during socially arousing circumstances. Hand use and the side of the body scratched was recorded during a baseline and experimental condition. In the experimental condition, chimpanzees were shown a video of other conspecifics sharing, fighting over, and consuming a watermelon. Self-touches were categorized as either rubs or scratches. The chimpanzees showed a significant right hand bias for rubbing and also significantly directed the rubs to the right side of the body. For scratching, the chimpanzees showed no hand preference but a significant bias for scratching on the left side of the body. These results support the view that the right hemisphere regulates the autonomic nervous system during arousal.
- Emotional contagion
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