Right or Left?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Stryder, Sep 22, 2001.

  1. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    This is just a question that I've asked before on another forum but haven't here but it might have some relevance.

    I wanted to know if a persons language would increase their likelihood of being right or left handed.
    I know that at first when I was young they tried to teach me right handed, but I evolved to using the left. My suspicion is that for languages like Chinese/Japanese because they read in a different direction to what I'm use to (English) does this change which hand they are more likley to write with?

    Ontop of that what do you think makes us decide which hand to use? Is it like having a more prominant eye? (One eye being more controlling of vision compared to the other)
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  3. Merlijn curious cat Registered Senior Member

    nothing sinsiter about left-handedness

    that is an interesting queestion you pose. Fortunately people have been asking the same question before you: for example neuropsychologists.
    I have before me a quite easy to read and highly intersting book called "Left Brain/Right Brain" (4th ed. by Springer & Deutsch, 1993 -maybe there is a newer edition- publ: Freeman, $16.95).
    This book has a seperate chapter on the subject.

    To start with:
    "A Study of 1,180 works of art spanning a 5,000 year period, from pre-3000B.C. to 1950, showed that depiction of right- and left- hand use showed no significantchange or trends over time, with left-hand use averaging 7 to 8 percent." (p.125-6)

    There is evidence consistent with the hypothesis that "genes play a role in determining handedness" (p.132), but "The problem with interpreting the data, however, isthat environmental factors cann account for these data as well" (same page). I.E. children may mimic their left-handed parent(s).

    I don't believe there is any evidemce that arab or hebrew readers/writers are more often left-handed than in left-to-right readres/writers (btw it is a misconception that chinese and japanese is written from right to left. You write chinese from top to bottom, and succesive lines from left to right).
    That would also not very pausible. the direction of reading/writing has no direct association with brain structuring. Being a left handed does. In this light "It is very interesting to note that the incidence of left-handedness is considerably higher among artiststhan among the general population." (p. 142) - If you are left handed, do not yet go jumping around in joy: left-handedness is also more comon among criminals. (can't find the page any more).

    Also, the mapping of functional regions in the brain is often more diffuse, choatic, or even inverted from that of a typical righthanded person. This may account for the finding that left-handers more ofteen than right handers recover from brain stroke induced aphasia (= inability to understand and/or produce speech).

    I hope this answeres your question.

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  5. Quaid Registered Member

    Very Interesting

    I like the post. All I can contribute is my experience. I am both right and left handed, although I do not consider myself ambidexterous. The reason being I am left handed when playing sports, throwing, kicking, etc. but right handed when writing, eating with a fork, or drinking out of a cup. It appears in 'heavy' activities I am left handed, and in 'light' activities I am right handed. I think I am naturally left handed in certain respects because when I was young (5 or 6) I started playing baseball, and my mother bought me a right handed glove, and my dad started teaching me to bat right handed, but soon I was showing my 'natural' tendency to the left side.

    Also, my grandmother is left handed, and when she was young in school they forced her to use her right hand to write. She still does most if not all things left handed though. She is also a painter

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    I realize those are only a few data points. I hope they help.
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  7. %BlueSoulRobot% Copyright! Copyright!! Registered Senior Member

    I don't know whether this is correct or not, but from my experience, most of the left-handed people I've met were more, how to say...smarter? Is it because they use different sides of their brain for different functions, or am I just deluding myself because of the public opinion that "left-handed people are cool"?

    And is it really possible to change the hand you use? I'm a right-handed guitar player, but the guitar playing hasn't really strengthened my left hand or made it easier to write legibly with. Sometimes, just for the fun of it, I go for weeks using chopsticks instead of a fork with my left hand, like an experiment. It doesn't work though, and my left-hand writing still looks like a child's scrawl.
  8. Merlijn curious cat Registered Senior Member

    Both at the lower and at the higher end of the IQ spectrum left-handedness if more frequent. I am talking about the extremes... say -65 IQ and 135+ IQ)
    So, probably you meet more often the intelligent people (which is quite understandible, since they -or we

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    - walk on the street, whereas the very-low IQ people aften are in daytreatment houses {sorry I do not know the proper English name for them}). Also you are more likely to see a high-IQ person write.

    changing hands dominance is I believe (virtually) impossible, but you can train the indominat hand. Sometimes unfortunate events force people to de so.
  9. kmguru Staff Member

    Here is my one cent:

    The society has been searching for such an answer for a long time with no luck. I think, it is a gene than flips and makes a person a left handed. It is same way like a gene that flips and changes the position of the heart to the right side.

    It is like a left handed and right handed molecule.

    That does not make one smarter than if it would have fliped the other way, since everything remains the same.

    When I had a motor cycle accident, I used my left hand for everything for six months. It became natural to me. Then I switch back, took a little while and back to right hand full time. I use my left hand in a lot of activities equally well except writing.
  10. machaon Registered Senior Member


    There is a great body of research which indicates a direct corralation between people diagnosed with ADHD and high intelligence/creativity. There is also a very high incidence of left handidness/ambidexterity among people with ADHD. Of course not all left-handed/ambidextrous people have ADHD, but most people with ADHD are left handed or ambidextrous. I for instance write with my right hand, but bat and golf left handed.
  11. Quaid Registered Member


    What is ADHD?
  12. Merlijn curious cat Registered Senior Member

    Quaid ,
    I tried to reply before, but the submission didn't get through.
    ADHD stands I believe for Attention Disorder/ Hyperactivity Deficit, but normally one says "attention deficit disorder" .
    ADHD is a congenical deficit. ADHD individuals have trouble concentrating on tasks, staying on a task for prolonged periods of time, are very active, and an ADHD is typically experienced as being a difficult child.
    As far as I know, ADHD has no influence on intelligence. Neither negative, nor positive. So, I tend to disagree with machaon on this. However, it may very well be that ADHD individuals have a higher chance of being above average creative. However, I did not find literature on this.
    Neither did I find sources with evidence that there is a higher incidence of left-handedness or ambidextrousity. But, I have toadmit, I did not look very hard, and I am not a specialist on this particular field. So, machaon may very well be right on this one.

    By the way:
    "The incidence of left-handedness in twins is about 20 percent, approximatey twice that found in the signleton population. Twins also show a disproportionately high incidence of neurological and other disorrders, which is believed te be a consequence of damage resulting from intrauterine crowding during fetal development. It is a logical next step tosuggest that the elevated incidence of left-handedness in twins is due, at least in part, to these factors." (p.134, same book as in my first submission).

    "In the mentally retarded, for example, the incidence is 20 percent. Left-handedness is also very common in children with learning disabilities and in epileptics. Perhaps the minor br4ain damage that is the cause of the problem in many of these cases is also responsible for the shift in hand preferebcein individuals who otherwise would have been right-handed" (p.135)

  13. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member


    I read your last post and it made me laugh, because I can see certain characteristics of ADHD within how wonder about in life.

    Presently because I'm not doing too much (thus the mass of postings) it means that I have to find something to take my time up, which is a mixture of research into a mixture of fields, posting, gaming. All just to keep myself busy.

    I might not have some Curriculum to follow, in doing so it allows me to tangent which is both a bonus and minus. It can be a bonus because I ad more angles to research and a minus because I'm not heading for a straight answer and it takes longer to study.

    Of course I know if I was placed into following some curriculum then I would be working within defined perimeters, and most of the research I do would be easier because some of the information would all ready be defined.

    Of course it does at present mean I spend a little time on this and a little time on that, At times I could be percieved as hyperactive, but that's just the intake of coffee taking it's toll.

    I remember something mentioned that autistic people are likely to be left handed, of course this was more apparent in the past since it was relatively a Right hand world. I can remember seeing a book on left-hand products, Things like Knives and Scissors.

    They are quite awkward because take for instance a knife has a particular blade angle on one side, and if your left handed it wont cut the same.

    Or the Scissors end up upside down, and your trying to squeeze your fingers into the thumb hole.
    That's the difficulty of being left handed in a right handed world. So Lefthanded people are probably more likely to become more adaptive and dexterous, thus suited to learning new skills.

    I like how this topic has progressed

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  14. kmguru Staff Member

    Most hyperactive kids are diagnosed as having ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) - which is the result of chemical imbalance in the brain - I believe mainly the norepinephrine level. Hyperactivity speeds up the brain, so the IQ test shows a higher number too. My personal observation is that most hyperactive kids are smarter than their non-hyper peers. But as anyone knows the numbers (IQ) do not tell the whole story.
  15. Alison Registered Member

    Right or Left

    A very interesting discussion. I was just wondering about handedness in terms of evolution. Does this not seem like a weakness in our species to have beings that are more adept with one hand than the other? Do other mammals exhibit this characteristic, specifically our closer relatives the chimpanzees, etc? (my apologies the the Creationists out there)....

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