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Things Left-Handers Are Good At

The way our brains are organised, with the right hemisphere controlling our dominant left-hand, means we do things differently to right-handers.

The left hemisphere (RIGHT HAND CONTROL) controls Speech, Language, Writing, Logic, Mathematics, Science, this is the LINEAR THINKING MODE.

The right hemisphere (LEFT HAND CONTROL) controls Music, Art, Creativity, Perception, Spatial awareness, Emotions, Genius, this is the HOLISTIC THINKING MODE.

Sport and the Arts

Lefties seem to have an advantage in many areas of sport. For example a lot of champion fencers are left-handed and there have been many outstanding left-handed tennis champions. Part of this is almost certainly linked with the organisation of the brain with the right side of the brain that controls spatial awareness linked directly to the dominant left hand, giving left-handers an advantage when thinking in three dimensions and in interpreting information in a 3 dimensional space.

A right-handed player will more usually face a "like-handed" opponent play a similar game and playing a left-hander is less common, whereas a "lefty" will invariably have faced more right-handers and thus be quite used to their "opposite" style of play.

Visit our famous Lefties section and see for yourself how many famous left-handers there are in the world of sport and our list of famous left-handed tennis players.

According to neurologists, left handers adjust more readily to seeing underwater and their have certainly been many successful left-handed swimmers, including multi -gold medal winner Mark Spitz.

Left-Handers seem to be more accomplished in many areas of music and the arts, probably because of the right side influence of the brain.

Are left-handers more intelligent?

To get the real story behind this, we contacted Dr Searleman direct and he sent Keith the following email...

Dear Keith,

The research to which you are referring was based upon a Poster presentation that my co-author (Clare Porac, Penn State at Erie) and I made on August 5 at the annual American Psychological Association Conference in Washington, D.C. We are currently writing up this research for possible journal publication, and we would be very happy to send you a copy when it is completed.

We are surprised at the amount of attention this has received, especially in the UK. On Tuesday, I had a live interview from my home in New York with a BBC radio show called ( I believe) -- "London Up all Night"-- with host Eric Dickson. The popular press reports we've seen are a bit over-the-top and not very careful with the details. For instance, none of them seem to mention that our study was conducted only with people who were 65 to 100 years old.

One of our basic findings is that it is important to look at more than just a person's handedness, that in fact it is valuable to consider all four lateral preferences. More specifically, we found that older adults who are the most strongly and consistently left-sided for handedness, sighting eye dominance, earedness, & footedness are the ones who demonstrate the greatest differences in cognitive ability.

Here's something not in the press reports: In other research with this same group of people, we also found that those people who are most left-sided in their lateral preferences are also the ones least likely to attempt to shift their hand writing preference (due to social/cultural/family pressure) from the left to the right hand.

Good luck on International Left-hander's day on the 13th!

Cheers, Alan Searleman


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