The Left Hand (Left-Handedness)

peterbernard2O9

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yeah

My mother was left-handed but trained out of it. I'm a righty but people think I'm left-handed for some reason. I used to draw with my left hand when I would get creative block but I haven't done that for years because I haven't had enough leisure time to have creative block since the 1990s. However, that works, if you ever get creatively stuck, it'll un-stick you.
 

rynner2

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The Left-Handed Liberation Front
By Tom Geoghegan
BBC News Magazine

They've been called the "last neglected minority" and their numbers are rising. But with recent evidence showing left-handers to be more creative, better at sport and even financially better off, why do they need a day of action?
The simplest of everyday tasks - using scissors, opening a microwave oven or peeling a potato - are all reminders to left-handers that this is a world designed for others.

And now this frustration is reaching a new level. With the number of left-handed people growing - as schools reject enforced right-handedness - so is their sense of identity and grievance.

They won't be marking Left-Handers' Day on Monday by mounting street barricades and shouting through megaphones. But its organisers say the day does hold an important message about the difficulties the one in eight so-called sinistral people in the UK encounter every day.

"We are finding more and more people are choosing to speak out," says Lauren Milsom of the Left-Handed Club, which has nearly 60,000 members.

"People are finding a voice about it more. Until 20 years ago, people would be quite quiet about being left-handed. It wasn't something you shouted about. We wouldn't be militant about it, but now people are saying 'hold on, this doesn't work for me and I'm not happy about it'."

The very language of left-handedness is pejorative, with "gauche", "sinister" and "awkward" among the broad translations from French, Latin and German, compared with the right's "adroit" and "dextrous". But it is the practical difficulties that bother left-handers the most.

Irritations

"They are not life-threatening, they are unnecessary frustrations, difficulties which you shouldn't have to worry about," says Mrs Milsom.

IS LEFT-HANDEDNESS BAD FOR HEALTH?
Scientists say there has been a higher incidence of stuttering, dyslexia, autism and breast cancer among left-handers
But many excel in sports like tennis, baseball, cricket and swimming
"Irritations and frustrations but in every day. As well as complaining about things, it's good to have a day when we celebrate the positive things about left-handedness."

These include creative and sporting prowess, a theory given added weight by the likes of Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Brian Lara, John McEnroe and Diego Maradona. Scientists have linked handedness to the different functions of the brain's right and left hemispheres.

Three of the last four US presidents have been left-handed (George Bush Junior, being the odd man out), while research from the US National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that among graduates the earning power of left-handed men is 15% greater than that of men who are right-handed.

Hardly evidence of persecution, it could be said. But Mrs Milsom believes part of the reason why left-handed people succeed is because of the obstacles put in their path.

"The big advantage to being left-handed is that you have to overcome situations organised against you, so you become adaptable. You think around things and you think outside the box: 'That doesn't work for me so how can I make it work for me?' It's a good trait to have."

But with all the different kinds of adversity faced by people today, is a day of action really necessary?

"I think we still need to have a day. It's a kind of tongue-in-cheek day. Rather than have a big event in London, our members are doing things more personally, creating a 'lefty zone' in the office, kitchen or schoolroom and every right-handed person has to perform tasks in that area. It's a bit of fun but gets the point across."

The number of left-handers has increased steadily since 1910, when it was thought there were only 3% in Western society, and schoolchildren were forced to use their right hands. The fact there are now 13% in the UK suggests a weakening of the taboo.

Mrs Milsom's husband, Keith, who owns the shop Anything Left-Handed, says his father Reg had his knuckles rapped with a ruler at school in the 1930s if he wrote with his left hand. The teacher even tied his left arm to his chair. The experience brought on a stutter.

"What we see now is not teachers being anti-left-hand but being apathetic and not knowing how to help left-handers.

"They're told to sit at the back of the class and get on with it, whereas simple instruction about how to hold the pen and the paper can help."

Injuries

Although the stigma and the prejudice have gone, campaigners want proper records kept in schools on the numbers of left-handed pupils and help in writing and providing left-handed equipment like scissors.

But there could be more serious consequences from ignoring the needs of left-handers.

In March, a strongly-worded e-petition was submitted to Downing Street calling upon the government to apologise for the continued oppression of left-handed people and "to legislate to end the discrimination - particularly in the manufacture of tools - that causes thousands of needless injuries to left-handed people every year". It collected a fairly unimpressive 44 signatures.

Making power saws and microwaves for right-handed people puts the health and safety of 10% of the population at risk, says Professor Chris McManus, author of Right Hand, Left Hand.

He has described left-handed people as the "last neglected minority".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6943871.stm
 

StormMagic

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A lot of people seem to think I'm left-handed because I use my left hand a lot. My right hand I only really use for writing or using a mouse. Bizarrely, if I go to pick something up I almost always reach out with my left hand rather than my right. I don't understand why, it's a bit odd.
 

rynner2

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As two lefties vie for the American presidency... why are so many U.S. premiers left-handed?
By Fiona Macrae
Last updated at 4:51 PM on 24th October 2008

The outcome of US election may be uncertain. But one thing is for sure - America will be making a shift to the left.
Both Barack Obama and John McCain are left-handed, while the outgoing president writes with his right.

Despite lefties making up just one in 10 or so of the population, three out of the last four US presidents have been left-handed and next month's election will increase the tally to four out of five.

While George W Bush is right-handed, George Bush Snr and Bill Clinton are both left-handed.
Ronald Reagan was said to be ambidextrous.

The rise of the left doesn't end there. The results of the coming election will mean that six of the 12 post-war presidents will have been left handed.
The dominance of 'lefties' in the top job has intrigued neurologists and confounded statisticians.

Some would argue the clustering of left-handers is simply a coincidence and the numbers will even out over time.
Others claim left-handedness is associated with greater levels of creativity and skill - a disproportionate number of gifted artists, musicians and sportsmen are left-handed.
Or it could simply be that living in a right-handed world means left-handers get used to fighting for their rights from an early age.

Dr Stephen Williams, a Colchester psychologist and an expert in handedness, said: 'A lot of left-handers have to resist pressure when they are young to use their right hand.

'You could speculate that the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth would also be pretty good at resisting pressure and getting what he wants done.'

Daniel Geschwind (CORR), a professor of human genetics in California, told the Guardian: 'Six out of the past 12 presidents is statistically significant and probably means something.'
Whatever the reason, the phenomenon does not appear to have crossed the Atlantic - Gordon Brown and Tony Blair are both right-handed.
In fact, just two of the 12 post-war prime ministers - Churchill and Callaghan - have favoured their left over their right.
Despite this, the proportion of left-handers in Britain as a whole has risen fourfold in the past 100 years.

Around 13 per cent of men and 11 per cent of women are now left-handed, compared to just 3 per cent of those born before 1910.
Experts say the rise can be partly explained by a growing acceptance of left-handedness.

In the 18th and 19th centuries it was regarded as a handicap and teachers would try to beat it out of their pupils, or tie their hand behind their back to train them to use their 'correct' hand.
The dispelling of such prejudice has led to lefties regaining their natural place in society, so the theory goes.

The rising age of motherhood may also be playing a role. Older women, for reasons that are unclear, are more than twice as likely to have left-handed babies than their younger counterparts.

However, some of the stigma remains. For instance, the Devil is almost always portrayed as being left-handed.
And the basics of life, from desks to scissors and computer mouses are geared to the right-handed majority.
Which is why Ned Flanders in the TV series The Simpsons set up a shop called the Leftorium.

Famous lefties past and present include Julius Caesar, Michelangelo, Pele, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Nicole Kidman and Angelina Jolie.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... anded.html
 

escargot

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That post says he was told 'I must be under the influence of the Devil, because I had used my left hand!', not that the Devil himself is left-handed, which is a different thing.
 
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escargot1 said:
That post says he was told 'I must be under the influence of the Devil, because I had used my left hand!', not that the Devil himself is left-handed, which is a different thing.
Indeed, I'm right handed actually.
 

celticrose

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Well the latin terms are dexter-right and sinister-left. Of course the devil writes with the sinister hand :D

My baby cousin is left handed but her mum tells her off for using her "wrong" hand. I think thats awful.
 

celticrose

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I never correct her, and I encourage her to speak BOTH her languages (her grandfather is native to Mauritius).
 

linesmachine

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I'm a lefty. I've never given much time the idea that lefties are superior in any way. If you want to come up with some very able people who weren't lefties then I'm sure you would probably come up with around 10 times as many...which would be correct in terms of ratio. The idea that a lefty "is more likely" to be artistic/intelligent etc...well it would be a hell of a survey!
 

escargot

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Yup, s'all very speculative and doesn't bear close examination.

For example, I once read about an American theory that left-handed drivers are more likely to have fatal accidents.
Why? Because in a potential collision situation, thew would tend to move their left hand across their face to protect it, thus steering the car into oncoming traffic.

If this were true, then left-handed British drivers in that secenario'd be safer, because the hand/face protection reflex would steer the car out of traffic.

Yeah. :lol:
 

rynner2

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Left-hand people 'more inhibited'

People who are left-handed are more likely to get anxious or feel shy or embarrassed about doing or saying what they want, according to new research.

Those involved in the Abertay University study were given a behavioural test that gauges personal restraint and impulsiveness.

Researchers found left-handers tended to agree more with statements such as "I worry about making mistakes."

They also agreed that "criticism or scolding hurts me quite a bit."

In total, 46 left-handed people were compared with 66 right-handers.

'Wiring differences'

The left-handers scored higher when it came to inhibition, especially when a situation was new or unusual. Women were also more held back than men.

All groups responded similarly to statements such as: "I often act on the spur of the moment" and "I crave excitement and new sensations."

Dr Lynn Wright, who led the study in Dundee, believes the results could be due to wiring differences in the brains of left and right-handers.

"Left-handers are more likely to hesitate whereas right-handers tend to jump in a bit more," she said.

"In left-handers the right half of the brain is dominant, and it is this side that seems to control negative aspects of emotion. In right-handers the left brain dominates."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tay ... 708054.stm
 

Anome

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112 people does not make a thorough study. It's an interesting start, though.

I'd say I fit their theory, but I don't think that's really meaningful. When they've done a few thousand people, then we can start taking notice.
 

tilly50

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I think that the survey (although too small to show anything statistically significant) shows that left handers have been subjected to more criticism as children, making them more sensitive and worried about making mistakes which would bring about more ridicule. This is at least as likely as them having "different wiring" in the brain.
 

mugwumpaddict

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My Dad was left handed until they trained it out of him at school. He went on to become a comercial artist and can draw with one had at the same time as writing with the other hand. Quite something to see when he's in full flow.
I am also left handed, my right hand is pretty weak.
When we where learning to write in school all the righties where given fountain pens to write with and us lefties where issued with felt tip pens. I was very dissapointed as it meant missing out on filing up the pen from the big ink well on the teachers desk and was cheap looking in comparison with the fountain pens. We got the felt tips cause they reackoned that we would smudge our work if using fountain pens. As i write with my hand under the line of writing this was not and issue for me and felt unfair.
My writing sloped to the left (the wrong way according to my teachers). I wounder do any other lefties do this?
As it's a right handed world you just have to adapt as best you can, using right handed things in your left hand. It annoys me that thing like knives are designed to be used in the right hand ( the blades are champhered for use in the right hand) and consequently using it left handed it is very hard to cut a straight line and can be quite dangerous. i think a lot of accidents are cause by trying to use right handed tools in the left hand. They could be made for ambidexterous use but aren't.
I alway find it difficult if someone is demonstrating something using their right hand as i have to swap what they are doing in my head before following it.
I haven't noticed people commenting on my left handed ways for years probally because there are more of us about now but my grandad always called me gammy/cack handed and wouldn't let me help out in the kitchen because i look so awkward/unsafe using right handed stuff.
 

Zilch5

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mugwumpaddict said:
When we where learning to write in school all the righties where given fountain pens to write with and us lefties where issued with felt tip pens. ... My writing sloped to the left (the wrong way according to my teachers). I wounder do any other lefties do this?
As it's a right handed world you just have to adapt as best you can, using right handed things in your left hand. It annoys me that thing like knives are designed to be used in the right hand ( the blades are champhered for use in the right hand) and consequently using it left handed it is very hard to cut a straight line and can be quite dangerous. I alway find it difficult if someone is demonstrating something using their right hand as i have to swap what they are doing in my head before following it.
I haven't noticed people commenting on my left handed ways for years probally because there are more of us about now but my grandad always called me gammy/cack handed and wouldn't let me help out in the kitchen because i look so awkward/unsafe using right handed stuff.
Boy - I am sooo with you on this one! I was the first kid at school to get exempt from using an ink-pen as I immediately smeared the ink as I wrote. Also, I started by writing "inverted" - like a mirror image by copying what the teacher wrote on the blackboard. I can still do it and have absolutely no problem reading that way either.

Same difficulty here with following demonstrations - and yes, my Granny too tended to take tools, knives etc out of my left hand all the time as it looked "dangerous" to her.

But then and now I am a proud southpaw and never wanted to be like the others! :D
 

rynner2

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I guess this fits here:

Youngsters losing hand co-ordination
Children are struggling at school because they don’t know if they are left or right-handed
Jack Grimston and Dipesh Gadher

The proportion of infants arriving at school not knowing whether they are right or left-handed has trebled in the past decade, researchers say. The situation has been made worse by excessive parental fears, driven by cot death, about letting them lie or crawl on their front.

Children of four and five are struggling to make advances in writing because of their stunted dexterity, made worse by shortening attention spans.

The trend has raised concerns that children are developing more slowly than in past years, leading to “indelible” behavioural problems in adolescence.

Madeleine Portwood, a senior educational psychologist at Durham county council, said that from her observations of hundreds of children, the proportion of those who started school not knowing whether they were more comfortable holding a pencil in their left or right hands had grown from 10% a decade ago to 25%-30%.

“It’s important if you start formal education at 4½ and you are expected to hold an implement to write, that you know which hand to hold it in,” she said.

Portwood believes an important factor in the change is that some parents interpret advice that children should sleep on their backs to avoid cot death to mean that they should never be allowed on their fronts, even when awake and on the floor.

This means infants are less likely to crawl on their hands and knees and develop left-right coordination between arms and legs as they learn to stand and walk.

Portwood, who presented her findings at an independent schools conference last week, said: “More and more children are not going through the crawling stage. They shuffle along on their bottoms and find a chair, a table or curtains and use their arms to pull up to a standing position.

“The most important thing parents can do is ensure that when they are being observed during the day, they are given a chance to be on their front.” Previous research by Portwood has found that 57% of three-year-olds are unable to carry out tasks expected at their age. She cited children’s inactive lifestyles as “a major contributory factor”.

Other experts have also raised concerns about children’s development. “Brain development is at its most rapid between the age of zero and three,” said Aric Sigman, a psychologist and a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. He pointed to research showing that for every hour a day a three-year-old watches television, there is a 9% rise in attention problems.

Sigman has described television as “the greatest unacknowledged public health issue of our time”. He also believes video games have led to children spending less time working with their hands and failing to grasp concepts such as weight, volume and measurement.

“By using your hands, you can actually become more civilised,” said Sigman. “These are problems likely to persist in life, they are rather indelible.”

The problem was highlighted at the Conservative party conference when a restaurateur told a session addressed by David Willetts, the shadow skills secretary, that she was unable to find British employees under 25 who had the dexterity to peel a potato. :shock:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_a ... 114484.ece
 

rynner2

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Why left-handed men earn five per cent more every HOUR than right-handers
By Laura Clark
Last updated at 11:44 PM on 28th November 2008

Left-handed boys underperform at school but enjoy greater financial success in later life than right-handers, studies suggest.

They appear to adapt well to life in a right-handed world and end up earning around 5 per cent more per hour.

Researchers from Bristol University and Imperial College London tracked 12,000 children from birth to 14 and found that left-handers were behind when they started school and in tests at 11 and 14.

And academics at University College Dublin, who studied 18,000 men and women in their thirties, found that left-handers earn £1,112 more per year, 5 per cent extra.

Around 10 per cent of people are left-handed, a phenomenon more common among men than women.

Until quite recently, left-handedness was seen as sinister, the Latin word for left. Some children were even forced to switch to their right side by their teachers or parents.

Robert Redford, for example, started life as a left-hander but now writes with his right hand.

Professor Carol Propper, who co-authored the Bristol study, said her research suggested that the idea that left-handers were more often highly intelligent was wrong.
The study also found that any difference in the attainment of right and left-handed boys at school by the age of 14 was probably explained by some trauma early in life.

The researchers found no pure 'left-handed effect' - either positive or negative - although the study said 'a minority of left-handers may have brain advantages that have positive pay-offs in later life'.

Left-handed boys were found to be slightly behind at the start of school before beginning to catch up. The findings from both studies were not so positive for left-handed women. Researchers found that they were not only behind at school at 14 but go on to earn 4 per cent less than right-handed female colleagues.

'Our findings might provide a possible answer to the paradox that at early ages left-handed boys suffer, while in terms of earnings as adults, they do better than their right-handed counterparts,' the Bristol study said.

'It may be the case that non righthanded children experience problems early in life, because they have not fully adapted to being in a right-handed world but that once they adapt - at least if they are male - they do better.'

Dr Kevin Denny, who worked on the Dublin study, theorised that a section of the brain which divides the left hemisphere from the right appears to be larger in left-handed men and could point to improved communication.

'We cannot be exactly sure why these differences occur but one explanation is that the corpus callosum - the information superhighway which helps the two hemispheres of the brain communicate - is significantly larger in left-handed men, compared to their right-handed colleagues and women,' he said.

'However, it is a long way to go from the structure of the brain to the labour market.

'Other explanations for why male left-handers seem to earn more could be the fact they appear to be more creative than right-handed counterparts, something which is not distinguished in women.'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... nders.html
 

rynner2

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Dexterity dilemma
Why are some people left handed and others right handed?

Leila Gabasova (aged 12), Moscow, Russia

The following answer has been selected and edited by New Scientist staff

The simple answer is that they've inherited genes for left or right-handedness, which is why handedness runs in families and identical twins are more likely to have the same handedness than dizygotic (fraternal) twins. The genes involved are a little strange, because while one makes people right-handed, the other only makes it random as to whether an individual is right or left-handed. So identical twins with the latter gene can have different handedness.

Genes are only the immediate cause of handedness. Very occasionally, "biological noise" during development, or brain or arm trauma, will override genes and cause "pathological handedness".

Why humans alone among animals are 90 per cent right-handed is a separate question, with the answer going back 2 million years. This is when human brains became asymmetric and the neural equipment for the fast, precise movements for speech and finger dexterity became localised in the left hemisphere. Why it is the left hemisphere is unclear.

Yet another question is why some people are left-handed. The answer is that there must be advantages to having the genes for left-handedness, although the advantages are still to be discovered. Finally, why aren't all animals ambidextrous? Most likely because it pays to specialise - if all practice is with just one hand, that hand will be more accomplished than a hand that only benefited from half the practice time.

Chris McManus, Professor of Psychology and Medical Education University College London

Chris McManus is the author of Right Hand, Left Hand (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2002)- Ed

http://www.newscientist.com/blog/lastwo ... r&nsref=lw
 

mugwumpaddict

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What makes right handed people in my work when they come to use my computer say "Oh your not left handed are you" in an acusatory voice. Then moan and grip that the mouse is on the 'wrong' side and the buttons are swapped.
They say thing like "its really awkward","I can't use it this way round".
This is the situation that left handed people face every time they come to use a public computer and for the most part manage.
Are left handed people more adaptable or moan less about things?
 

Zilch5

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mugwumpaddict said:
Are left handed people more adaptable or moan less about things?
Yes, yes and yes. We are more adaptable and we moan less.

We have to be.
 

escargot

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I'm currently training to teach adult literacy and yesterday we discussed handedness.

The tutor told us that the emphasis schools used to place on right handedness originated in the need for workers to operate machinery designed for the majority right-handers.

Rang true with me - schooling as a machine, crushing individuality and churning out docile cannon fodder and factory hands. :evil:
 

Zilch5

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escargot1 said:
I'm currently training to teach adult literacy and yesterday we discussed handedness.

The tutor told us that the emphasis schools used to place on right handedness originated in the need for workers to operate machinery designed for the majority right-handers.

Rang true with me - schooling as a machine, crushing individuality and churning out docile cannon fodder and factory hands. :evil:
I agree with the last bit - but I think it goes mack much further than this. There has always been something "sinister" associated with the left hand. In many societies, people eat with the right hand (only) and clean themselves with the left. Maybe it is related to that? I don't really know.
 

escargot

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That's true. However, where most children don't learn to write it's hardly a problem. Most non-mechanised agricultural activities don't rely on handedness, for example.

In Hungarian schools, classrooms are supposed to be set up so that the light comes from the left, to best illuminate pupils' work. When I asked how left-handed children were helped, I got puzzled looks and faint shrugs.

I don't believe that there are no left-handers in Hungary so they're either 'retrained' or disadvantaged. Still puzzles me now.
 
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