The current research investigates sources of variability in subjects' asymmetry scores on commonly used laterality tasks. In particular, subjects' asymmetry scores on four bilateral tachistoscopic tasks and one free-vision task were entered into a principal component analysis (PCA) in order to investigate components that explain the maximum variance of the sample. The results indicate that about half of the variation (45.2%) in asymmetry scores on both tachistoscopic and free-vision tasks is attributable to individual differences in characteristic perceptual asymmetry. The amount of variance explained by this characteristic perceptual asymmetry component is similar in a sample of dextrals and a sample of sinistrals. No significant relation was revealed between individual differences in characteristic perceptual asymmetry and performance on various verbal and spatial cognitive tasks. © 1990.