The Left Hand (Left-Handedness)

A

Anonymous

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An interesting addition to the handedness combat thing, I was reading a book on European castles a few weeks ago at my BIL's which mentioned that some have a staircase that runs left-handed to assist left handed fighters and seriously bugger things up for a right handed foe. The best known example is those built by the Scottish Kerr family, who were predominantly left-handed.
 
A

Anonymous

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This may be a myth but:

I remember reading that the Housecarls (elite troops) of the Saxon Army at the time of Hastings were armed with bloody great two handed axes which they were all trained to use left handed. The principle being that they would be swinging down onto the unprotected right side of their opponents.
 
A

Anonymous

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I heard one of the researchers in the New Scientist article on the BBC World sservice and can't say she convinced me one iota. As a sinistral person, I don't care to be dismissed as an "artifact." :evil:
 

lkb3rd

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janette246 said:
I'm left handed, though all I do with my left hand is write, everything else I do right handed, cut, play sports, sew etc... but if I try to hold a pen in my right hand I'm useless!
odd. me too exactly. i write and use eating utensils left handed, but otherwise i am right handed.
i had always attributed it to learning to write from my (left handed ) mother, and using a fork you do hold it in a similar manner as a pen..
 

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Toilet Paper Update

I was talking to the same person about this thread and some of the ideas kicking about, and it turns out that although I thought she was just deliberately being a bit gross when she said that you wipe your arse with your left hand, it's the total truth - and no, toilet paper does not come into it. Rather than there being a symbolic attachment which the advent of Andrex has eliminated, in India (or the part she's from at least) there is a real hygienic reason for not eating with your left hand, in that it will, at some point, be coming into contact with your excrement.
 
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Anonymous

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My mother said she was absolutely horrified to see me use my left hand dominantly when I was a baby. Apparently in her generation in the Far-Eastern culture, it was a really bad, literally sinister thing. How it could be so bad, I don't know. Anyway she forced me to at least write with my right hand and that's how I am today. I write letters with my right hand but do everything else (draw pictures, eat, play sports etc.) with my left hand.

I'm not sure if I could call myself a true ambi-dextrous. I guess I am simply a left-handed person with some right-hand abilities. What am I? Confused! I was wondering, would I be different in any way if no one corrected my left-handedness? I mean, my personal character and spirituality and things like that? Ooh I find this topic so interesting!
 

Anome

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Bretta said:
I was wondering, would I be different in any way if no one corrected my left-handedness? I mean, my personal character and spirituality and things like that? Ooh I find this topic so interesting!
Do you stutter or stammer at all? It's supposedly a common side effect of forced re-handedness.

Of course many people never have that kind of problem.

There is a theory (possibly backed up with careful and thorough research, but I can't be bothered to look) that you brain development is affected by which hand you use (which is of course affected by your brain development). Basically, the more you use one hand for a particular task, the more the corresponding areas of the brain develop.

How would this make you noticeably different? Who knows. We can't tell as we don't have both versions of you.
 
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Anonymous

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I don't stutter or stammer, but I have heard about people developing things like that after changing their natural handedness.

Strange thing is, I have actually noticed that I am using my left hand even more as I get older. Some of the things I used to do with my right hand are now becoming left-hand job! Am I turning back to a regular left-handed person?

I don't know if it's relevant but I am bilingual, and it may sound peculiar but I have problem switching languages. I cannot translate languages although I understand both of them. Maybe it's just me. Human brain is a complex thing indeed.
 

Renigirl

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I know that until quite recently it was common practise in schools to discourage left-handed writing. Was this because it was thought sinister for some reason?
I'd always figured that it was something to do with writing with ink. I sat next to a left-handed boy for a spell in school, and my papers would always come back all smeary when he checked them over (in ink).

Having read through the thread: Anyone heard of instances where companies, etc. have been sued for institutional discrimination against lefties? I worked as a proofer for a bank once, and the machines we worked on would have been literally impossible for a left-hander to work on, unless they were 10-key dextrous with their right hands. At the time, I did ask someone if a left-handed person had ever worked there, and they told me to their recollection, none ever had. Just curious.
 

Min Bannister

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Re: Toilet Paper Update

Throw said:
I was talking to the same person about this thread and some of the ideas kicking about, and it turns out that although I thought she was just deliberately being a bit gross when she said that you wipe your arse with your left hand, it's the total truth - and no, toilet paper does not come into it. Rather than there being a symbolic attachment which the advent of Andrex has eliminated, in India (or the part she's from at least) there is a real hygienic reason for not eating with your left hand, in that it will, at some point, be coming into contact with your excrement.
:shock:

So like, what about preparing food? You can't do that with one hand. :?
 
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Left-handed piano

I just found this: http://www.lefthandedpiano.co.uk/about.html

CHRISTOPHER SEED is an internationally renowned pianist - with a difference. He has built a piano with the keyboard in reverse (with the treble register beginning at the left hand side and ending with the bass register at the right). The reason - he believes (quite logically) that his left hand, and indeed the whole left side of his body, is much more expressive and agile than his right. Because most piano music is written with the melody in the right hand supported with chords in the left, if you turn this around and swap hands it makes much more sense to a left-hander. The only practical way of doing this is to build the keyboard in reverse. Chris hopes that this will set a precedent for a future generation of left-handed pianists. This new keyboard could uncover a whole new wealth of talent in the world of music.
Does this make any sense? Especially since every left-handed person who knows how to play the piano would've had learned it on a "normal" piano, and would have to re-learn everything...?
 

JamesWhitehead

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There have been a number of one-handed pianists, the most celebrated being Paul Wittgenstein - a relative of the philosopher Ludwig.

He commissioned a series of concert works for the piano, left hand alone with orchestra. Before that there were many sets of studies for the left hand solo.

The point of all of them was that the left was traditionally the weaker hand. This challenging aspect was part and parcel of their raison d'etre. The notion of making them easier would detract more than somewhat from that.

No doubt the Hammerklavier Sonata would be a tad easier if it were a duet. But no one ever won applause for playing something easy, so I think this chap is heading in the wrong direction.

Maybe he could amputate a few fingers or something. :confused:
 

GodzillaGirl

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Having read through the thread: Anyone heard of instances where companies, etc. have been sued for institutional discrimination against lefties? I worked as a proofer for a bank once, and the machines we worked on would have been literally impossible for a left-hander to work on, unless they were 10-key dextrous with their right hands. At the time, I did ask someone if a left-handed person had ever worked there, and they told me to their recollection, none ever had. Just curious.
I haven't thought of sueing, but I am having lots of trouble with carpal tunnel in my left wrist due to my job. I work for a financial firm as a trader and I find I have to do a lot of Alt Tab, Escape E, Escape Q, type of motions to flip around the various screens. I think the trading software does not bother anybody else because they are righties. I know a lot of lefties who can do the 10 key with their right hand with out a problem, because you have to learn how to do it. Just like a lot of us couldn't use a pair of left handed scissors if our life depended on it.
 

bugmum

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According to my mother, as a baby/toddler I picked everything up with my left hand. She would promptly shove everything into my right hand in an attempt to break the habit, as she considered that lefties had a much harder time with writing, scissors, etc. It must have worked as I am generally right-handed; I don't stutter and stammer, but I was given speech therapy for a lisp for a while (I said "Yeth" to a teacher once, and band, I'm in speech therapy!), and I have terrible problems remembering left and right. When directing my husband, he habitually asks, "Is that your left or mine?"

I did go through a left-handed eating phase in my teens, primarily to see how long it would take my mother to notice (I sat opposite her at table); the answer was about six months. Curiously enough, although both my sons are right-handed as well, the older one eats left-handed; he started this habit about two years ago. I nag him about it occasionally, but he persists.

Certainly my left arm's always been stronger than my right, and this has been exascerbated by the fact that I carried my children on my left arm so my right hand was free to do stuff!
 

Electric_Monk

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Oddly enough I was apparently sent for speech therapy (I don't remember it at all) but my parents decided I was doing fine and didn't carry out any of the instructions or anything :)

Although I do think I have quite an odd voice :)

And why would scissors be harder with a left hand? I use scissors in both hands with no bother :)
 

again6

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Father's family had a lot of left-handers, although he and my mother are right-handed.

I was born left-handed. When aged about 18 months, parents apparently tied my left hand to my body or anything else handy (feed-chair, etc) to force me to become right handed. This method was successful. Am now right handed, couldn't write with my left at all. But suspect enforced right-handedness, particularly at 18 months (when unable to articulate frustration, rage, confusion, etc.) is damaging to the developing personality. My brother was also left-handed; he was physically punished for this at school, where they attempted to enforce right-handedness. He became ambidextrous and remains that way. He stuttered intermittently for many years.

I only suffered one brief phase of stuttering, at about 14 years of age. Always felt 'awkward' though. Worst phase was when aged 17 through early 20's; I veered diagonally across footpaths, no matter how I tried to 'walk straight'. Would deliberately re-orient myself hard up against shop windows, but invariably ended up close to the kerb within 20 or 30 paces. I felt 'uneven'. Trial and error taught me to hold something in both hands, so in one hand/shoulder I'd carry a handbag/shoulder-bag, and in the other a handkerchief or tissue. The disparity in weight didn't seem to matter; as long as I carried something in both hands, it was easier to walk in a reasonably straight line. At those times when I wasn't carrying anything at all, it was remarked that I walked with my head leaning very much to one side. This was remarked on by people with whom I worked. The fact I stand very upright and walk swiftly probably emphasised this; it was apparently the cause of considerable humour. I learned to correct this problem.

I had twins; when they were young, one walked on either side of me, holding my hands; I used to regard them as 'training wheels'. Once they went to school and I no longer had them to balance me, I had to learn to walk all over again, in a way. These days I make a lot of effort so that I appear to walk 'normally', based on a study of how others walk. I suspect my problems in this area stem from the enforced change from left to right handedness.

One of my twins is right handed, the other is left handed. I was so opposed to enforced handedness that I must have blanked-out the entire issue; it never occurred to me to notice which hand the twins used. When my son (left handed) went to school, I was contacted by his teacher who advised that my son still hadn't shown a preference for either hand. The teacher made it sound a critical issue. She said I would have to do exercises with him each afternoon after school; rolling a ball towards him diagonally across the floor and other things. He didn't like it and I chose not to push the issue. He is now 30, is ambidextrous; writes and draws with his left but plays golf (very well) with his right, etc. He's always been successful in every sport he's engaged in. Unlike virtually all other left-handers I've known, my son writes left-handed, but with a forward slant.

When the twins were in high-school, they took part in tests which allegedly show if one is right or left brained. When I completed the test (and several others since), the results claimed I am equally left and right brained. So maybe there's an advantage to having one's 'handedness' changed. As has been mentioned by numerous others, I often confuse 'left' and 'right' when giving directions, but this seems to have grown worse as I've aged. Finally, I would never interfere with a child's 'handedness'; I think it's gross abuse, based on sheer ignorance.
 

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Meant to add that my parents didn't tell me until I was nearly 30 that I had ever been left handed.
 

Anome

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Colin said:
And why would scissors be harder with a left hand? I use scissors in both hands with no bother :)
It has to do with the way scissors are made.

Normal "right handed" scissors are designed so that using them in the right hand forces the blades together. Using them in the left hand forces them apart. (Get a pair of scissors, close them and look at the way the blades sit.) As you close them, your thumb actualy pushes out, which due to the way the blades are made, forces the blades together.

Hold them in your left hand, and this pushes the blades apart. To use "Right handed" scissors in your left hand, you can try holding them reversed, with the points towards your body. That can work, but not well. Otherwise try deliberately pulling in with your thumb and pushing out with your fingers (the opposite to the normal action) and it can work.

If you've never had a problem using them, I can only suggest you have very good scissors (with little or no gap between the closed blades) or freaky hands.
 

Mal_Adjusted

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Why left-handers may not see the wood for the trees

Greets

Why left-handers may not see the wood for the trees

Tim Radford, science editor
Monday February 7, 2005
The Guardian

Left-handed people really do see the world differently, according to research published today. A team from the University of Birmingham has found that, when shown the same image, left-handed and right-handed people use different parts of the brain.

They report in Nature Neuroscience that where right-handers use the right hemispheres of their brains to take in the big picture - a forest, for example - left-handers use the right part of the brain to focus on detail, such as the trees.

The researchers used a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation: they applied a magnetic field either to the left or right parietal lobes of the brain. Stimulation of the left side made it harder for right-handers to focus on the detail.

To get the same effect in left-handers, they had to stimulate the right side of the brain.

Research has repeatedly shown that southpaws and right-handers have different approaches to the world - and sometimes different attitudes.

The word "sinister" originally meant "left side" and provides a hint of ancient bigotry. Left-handed people are in the minority, but they may have advantages.

An experiment by the University of Toledo found that people with plenty of left-handed relatives seem to have better memories than most.

A study of 17,000 people in Britain, on the other hand, showed that left-handers seemed to be at twice the risk of Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, and that left-handers might be slightly more at risk from asthma, migraine, autism and diabetes.

A Canadian team reported in 2000 that left-handedness might be more common in gay men and lesbian women than in a comparable population of heterosexuals.

Nobody knows why some people are born left-handed, although it could be linked to experiences early in the womb.

Last year scientists at Georgia State University studied the brains of 66 chimpanzees, and found that brain difference and the distribution of left- and right-handedness was much the same as in humans.

The two species went their separate evolutionary ways about 5m years ago, so southpaws have a long history.

Glyn Humphreys from Birmingham University's school of psychology said: "In right-handed, people the right hemisphere sees the whole picture, whereas the left hemisphere attends to the details. However, we have found that in left-handed people, this is completely reversed.

He added: "Not only our language function, but even the way in which we see the world, can depend on our handedness."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1407477,00.html

mal
 

rynner2

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In humans, left-handers make up about 10-13% of the population; but in some competitive situations including such sports as tennis, cricket and boxing, they are much more prevalent and dominant than that figure would suggest.

At the last cricket World Cup, left-handed batsmen scored more runs, batted for longer and were more likely to bat in the top of the order than right-handers.

It is the relative rarity of left-handed batsmen which seems to confer advantage. One theory holds that right-handed bowlers struggle against them because they do not face them that often; if they did, they would learn how to get them out quicker.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4831218.stm

(The rest of the article concerns crabs being unable to eat left-handed shellfish.)
 
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I've read that same theory about left handed boxers - opponents are so used to fighting right-handers that the southpaw gets them all confused.

(Or just maybe left-handers are simply better at sports. My left handed friend seems convinced that he is part of a superior race!)
 

Peripart

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graylien said:
I've read that same theory about left handed boxers - opponents are so used to fighting right-handers that the southpaw gets them all confused.

(Or just maybe left-handers are simply better at sports. My left handed friend seems convinced that he is part of a superior race!)
I think the first point is true - I play tennis left-handed, and it can be an advantage when opponents are expecting the ball to spin one way, and it goes the other, or when they have to think about which is my forehand or backhand side.

The thing is, of course, whether you are left-handed or right-handed, most of the people you come across will be right-handed. Ironically, I struggle against left-handed players because there aren't so many of them, even though they're playing the same way as me.

Going back to some earlier posts, I can't wield scissors in my left hand to save my life, any more than I would dream of using a mouse in my left hand. Both just feel "wrong".
 

Feyri

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I'm left-handed and write with my left hand, but I use the computer mouse and scissors with my right hand. I iron with either hand, depending on the placement of the ironing board. WRT points raised earlier in the thread, I have blue eyes and blonde hair and am bisexual. I used to have difficulty with left and right directions but seem to have 'grown out' of it now. Although I can't use a map to save my life and have to keep turning the thing round :roll:
 

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Left-handedness; perceptions?

I've been a left hander for the whole of my life, which was encouraged by my mother, who although a right-hander has a family history of left-handedness.
I am bisexual and multilingual, and started to wonder recently whether the bisexuality stemmed from the same source as the left handedness when I came across a left-handed tutor who was VERY aggressive towards all her students; she was also very anti-men and probably lesbian/bisexual (or that was the vibe I got :?: ). It made me think also of my grandmother, who was very aggressive and of several teachers who were left handed who I have not got on well with......

My mother's family also had a history of musicality with several members having pefect pitch and also a spiritual streak......... wonder if this is the creative thing coming through? My perceptions are also different to those of right -handers, I seem to see faces everywhere, especially in patterned items ..... which according to the anything left handed website is a common trait.

Leading me nicely into my suggestion that the reason for the large numbers of sinister forteans is due to our ability to see patterns and thus 'discern' phenomena around us. Tbh I believe that left handed reasoning is actually very different in [email protected] school I was always good at maths, but tended to use completely different reasoning to my classmates despite employing the same facts, and this ablitity to view problems in a totally different light has always stood me in good stead, probably why I enjoy reading the FTMB so much.
 

rynner2

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Gene for left-handedness is found

Scientists have discovered the first gene which appears to increase the odds of being left-handed.
The Oxford University-led team believe carrying the gene may also slightly raise the risk of developing psychotic mental illness such as schizophrenia.

The gene, LRRTM1, appears to play a key role in controlling which parts of the brain take control of specific functions, such as speech and emotion.

The study appears in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

The brain is set up in an asymmetrical way.

In right-handed people the left side of the brain usually controls speech and language, and the right side controls emotions.

However, in left-handed people the opposite is often true, and the researchers believe the LRRTM1 gene is responsible for this flip.

They also believe people with the LRRTM1 gene may have a raised risk of schizophrenia, a condition often linked to unusual balances of brain function.

Further research

Lead researcher Dr Clyde Francks, from Oxford University's Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, said the next step would be to probe the impact on the development of the brain further.

He said: "We hope this study's findings will help us understand the development of asymmetry in the brain.

"Asymmetry is a fundamental feature of the human brain that is disrupted in many psychiatric conditions."

However, Dr Francks said left-handed people should not be worried by the links between handedness and schizophrenia.

He said: "There are many factors which make individuals more likely to develop schizophrenia and the vast majority of left-handers will never develop a problem.

"We don't yet know the precise role of this gene."

About 10% of people are left-handed.

Differences

There is evidence to suggest there are some significant differences between left and right-handed people.

Australian research published last year found left-handed people can think quicker when carrying out tasks such as playing computer games or playing sport.

And French researchers concluded that being left-handed could be an advantage in hand-to-hand combat.

However, being left-handed has also been linked to a greater risk of some diseases, and to having an accident.

Dr Fred Kavalier, a consultant geneticist at London's Guy's Hospital, said: "I don't think left-handed people should be alarmed.

"Undoubtedly there are many, many other factors that contribute to schizophrenia. This may be a tiny little element in the big jigsaw."

'Devastating condition'

Marjorie Wallace, of the mental health charity SANE, said scientists working in its research centre in Oxford were also looking at the link between brain asymmetry and schizophrenia.

She said: "We desperately need research into the origins of psychosis to better understand why some people are more vulnerable than others.

"Then the treatment could be more targeted and carry the potential to prevent this devastating condition which affects one in 100 people worldwide."

Jane Harris, of the mental health charity Rethink, said: "No-one really understands what causes schizophrenia yet.

"It is probably a combination of factors, including genetics, problems in childbirth, viral infections, drug use, poverty and urbanisation."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6923577.stm
 

bosskR

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Feyri said:
I'm left-handed and write with my left hand, but I use the computer mouse and scissors with my right hand. I iron with either hand, depending on the placement of the ironing board. WRT points raised earlier in the thread, I have blue eyes and blonde hair and am bisexual.
What are you wearing?
 

Rrose_Selavy

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James Watson (yes he of DNA fame) said IIRC in a recent TED.com talk that 30% of "right handers" are genetically left handed.

-
 

Creamstick1

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Rrose_Selavy said:
James Watson (yes he of DNA fame) said IIRC in a recent TED.com talk that 30% of "right handers" are genetically left handed.

-
A mate of mine was left-handed as a child, but when he went to school he was hit with a ruler if his teacher saw him writing wth his left hand instead of his right - now he's right-handed. This was as recent as the early '80s.
 
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