Friday, November 8, 2013 at 3:30pm
Frank H. T. Rhodes Hall, 655
CAM Colloquium: Danny Abrams (Northwestern) - Sinister stability of asymmetry: A mathematical model for the origin of left-handedness
An overwhelming majority of humans are right-handed. Numerous explanations for individual handedness have been proposed, but this population-level handedness remains puzzling. I will present a novel mathematical model and use it to test the idea that population-level hand preference represents a balance between selective costs and benefits arising from cooperation and competition in human evolutionary history. I will also present evidence of atypical handedness distributions among elite athletes, and show how our model can quantitatively account for these distributions within and across many professional sports. The model predicts strong lateralization for social species with limited combative interaction, and elucidates the absence of consistent population-level "pawedness" in many animal species.