The HANDS Lab is directed by Dr. Eliza L. Nelson and housed in the Department of Psychology at Florida International University. HANDS is an interdisciplinary blend of developmental science and primatology. Our comparative research largely falls into two broad areas: laterality and motor skill. We are currently working on trajectory-based models for understanding how the hands shape development in infants and children, and characterizing how spider monkeys use their hands using motion tracking. We utilize Noldus Observer software for our human behavior research, and software from Innovision Systems and Animal Behaviour Pro for our animal behavior research. For more information about our active studies and recent findings, please visit our Projects and Reprints pages. HANDS provides rigorous training in the collection and analysis of reaching, grasping, and manipulation in human and nonhuman primates for graduate, undergraduate, and high school students. Please visit our Team page for information about current trainees and opportunities for prospective students.


  • 08/30/2019: Sandy Gonzalez defended her dissertation. Dr. Gonzalez is now an NIH/NIMH Post-Doctoral Fellow at NYU.

  • 12/03/2019: Our systematic review on whether gross and fine motor skills differentially contribute to language outcomes is out in Frontiers in Developmental Psychology.

  • 12/20/2019: Dr. Nelson received a Notice of Award for Year 2 of her NIH grant Infant motor trajectories and language outcomes.

  • 01/30/2020: Our paper showing that toddler hand preference trajectories predict 5-year language outcomes is out in Developmental Psychology.

  • 02/16/2020: Our systematic review on how to measure infant handedness reliably from reaching is out in Laterality.

  • 08/13/2020: Our paper using social networks to examine social development in spider monkeys is out in American Journal of Primatology.

  • 08/17/2020: Kaityn Contino and Samantha Croney joined the lab as doctoral students in the Developmental Science program.

  • 10/21/2020: We showcased our work on infant growth models for RDBM and our review on developmental primate cognition at ISDP 2020.

  • 11/06/2020: Emily Boeving defended her dissertation. Dr. Boeving is now Adjunct Lecturer at FIU.

  • 02/19/2021: Our paper using factor analysis with our measure the HHQ (Home Handedness Questionnaire) is out in Applied Neuropsychology: Adult.

  • 03/23/2021: Incoming HANDS graduate student Atefeh Karimi was awarded the FIU Presidential Fellowship.

  • Upcoming Conference Presentations

    Download prior HANDS Lab conference posters

    Get in Touch

    hands@fiu.edu | 305-348-4032 | Deuxieme Maison (DM) 269A

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