Left-Handers Club Newsletter - March 2005


In this issue...

1. All in the mind: why do left-handed supersititions persist?
2. Top Team - a warm welcome to our new staff
3. Are we better at sport? – your views
4. Member offers
5. Gifts and gadgets

We have started building an archive of previous newsletters and you can see them all in our
Newsletter archive index


Welcome to the March edition of the Left-Handers Club newsletter and a Happy Easter to all our members.

All in the mind : why do left-handed superstitions persist?

Throughout history, different races and religions have associated left-handedness with bad luck or evil, and as a result left-handers were treated, at the very least, with suspicion and disdain and at the worst persecuted as devil-worshippers and witches. But have you ever wondered why so many people cling on to strongly held beliefs despite seemingly overwhelming evidence to refute them?

Club Member and handwriting expert Kate Gladstone has discovered a fascinating research study that suggests our handedness may play an important part in how well we re-evaluate information and our ability to question the doctrines we hold as true.

A team of researchers at the University of Toledo published the paper in the scientific journal "Laterality" and believe their research indicates that the more strongly right-handed a person is, the more likely they are to keep believing perceptions and doctrines they have been taught, without questioning them.

 


"Lucky" four leaf clover

 


Black cat : symbol of superstition

According to Dr. Christman (who led the research) studies of the brain show that while the left side or "hemisphere" of our brain (which is the dominant side in right-handers) maintains our current beliefs about the world, the right hemisphere (more dominant in left-handers) is responsible for playing "Devil's Advocate" - questioning those left hemisphere beliefs, checking if they make sense and forcing an updating of beliefs when appropriate - a bit like overwriting an old version of a document with a new one on a computer.

In order for this belief updating to occur, the right hemisphere has to interact with the left, and right-handers don't seem to swap information between the two sides of the brain as often (hence, the lesser degree of belief updating in strong righties). If this study is correct, it could explain why superstitions against left-handers have been so rigorously upheld by the establishment.

Kate Gladstone had some very interesting comments on some of the issues it raises, which you can read in full here, and in particular she asks:-

Could this phenomenon, if true, partly explain why traditional/authoritarian/tribal societies have often regarded left-handers as "devils/witches"/etc. and have generally striven mightily (up to and including physical torture) to prevent use of the left hand?

If the phenomenon of left-handers tending more to question their culture's mind-set actually exists, then perhaps long-ago chiefs, shamans, and loyal unquestioning citizens of early tribes could have made similar observations to those made now by Dr. Christman. If the phenomenon really exists, then early Homo Sapiens might have noticed that challenges to the tribal belief-system and social/religious order, came more often from people who did some or all things left-handed than from the purely right-handed.

If so - admittedly a VERY big "if" - this would have played its part in that age-old identification of left-handedness as wrong/dangerous/anti-social/just plain evil - that old, old view of left-handed actions as things to prevent or "cure" by any means possible and necessary.


Suspicion of witchcraft:
left-handedness was
often considered a sign.

Our thanks to Kate for informing us of this research, and for sharing her thoughts with other members.
Click here to read the full research report and Kate's article.


Top Team - a warm welcome to our new staff


The ALH team
(l to r) Dannie, Pete and Peter

It's been a busy few months for Anything Left-Handed, and though we were sad to say goodbye to Arthur Haines, who retired after 14 years as warehouse manager, we are delighted to welcome some new faces to our team.

Stepping into Arthur's shoes in charge of despatching all your orders is Peter Cox, who joins us from a large garden supplies mail order company. Peter had rather a "baptism of fire" when he joined us last November, having to cope with our busiest Christmas ever! As an ex-fire fighter, Peters kept his cool admirably, and his experience climbing ladders is very useful in our warehouse!

Our newest recruit, Pete Dooley has recently graduated with a Business Management degree, and is busy assisting Keith with the development and marketing of our website. He will also be responsible for sourcing and purchasing of your left-handed items, so if you have any ideas for new products, or improvements to existing ones, Pete would love to hear from you.

At the heart of our customer service is Danielle Mansell. Though not strictly a new recruit, having joined us nearly a year ago, Dannie most certainly deserves a mention for the wonderful work she does in looking after our customers, making sure your orders are processed smoothly and your queries dealt with efficiently.

You can find out more about us at http://www.anythingleft-handed.co.uk/about.html

Advantages for left-handers in sport – your experiences

Prompted by a recent research study, you may remember in our last Newsletter we asked you "Do you agree that left-handers seem to excel in sports like tennis and cricket?" Hundreds of you responded, and gave us your own accounts of experiences playing sport as a lefty. Your replies were entertaining, heartwarming, and mostly very encouraging.

Despite some members having found their left-handedness discouraged in sport, the majority of replies show you to firmly believe your left-handed play to be a real asset. There were so many replies we have posted them on our Sports page,which you can view at
http://www.anythingleft-handed.co.uk/sports.html

but here are just a few of our favourites ....


Brian Lara
Left-hand batsman

I saw the article on lefties in sport and I have found that it's great, particularly in my preferred sport, fencing. It's an acknowledged fact within the sport that lefties are something of a rarity, i.e. a right-hander will most likely train with other right-handers and not come up against a leftie until competition.The main advantage in the sport (and this could possibly be linked into the report on 'Nature's Fighters') is that a right hander's sword-arm is on the same side of the piste as a left-handers rather than the usual diagonal arrangement when fighting a right-hander. As such the rightie tends not to guard his/her right hand side as much, where a leftie will guard against attack from both sides. It's actually difficult to describe in an email, but it's fun to watch the penny slowly drop with an opponent when they wonder why they are losing hits so easily.

I think the statistic for fencers is that despite the fact that about 10% of the world are left-handed, only about 1% of fencers are left-handed. 'Other' fencers generally regard left-handers as awkward, some actually relish fencing left-handers seeing it as a true mark of their skill if they can achieve a victory without giving away too many hits. It's great fun to be left-handed and I've never had a problem integrating it into sport. Des Gilhooly. Left-handed and proud of it!


I definitely believe we lefties have an advantage in sports. I have played basketball, softball, and my favorite volleyball. In all of these sports, I had the upperhand because with everyone else being right handed if I tried to make a move, no one would expect it from that direction. They are used to defending right-handed moves rather than left-handed ones, which resulted positively for my team! The only downside to being left-handed and engaging in sports is that there really isn't anyone that can show us techniques the way we need to see them. Which results in us either having to teach ourselves or adapt our own version of the technique...(which, in some cases, could benefit us!) Lindsey Whitaker


I used to play softball. It's a very very big advantage being lefthanded because no pitcher could get used to it. Feels good to have this power. It resulted in good trust in myself, so I was a very good hitter. It also feels good to hear the catcher scream "leftyyyyyyy!" to her field and than see the fieldplayers move to (for my sight) the right. Great! Felt like the queen of the game.
Merijn Panhuijsen


Our sincere thanks to all of you who emailed us your responses to this. We read them all and are sure they will help and inspire other visitors to the site. It's great to know there are so many keen leftie sportsmen and women out there! Click here to see the rest of the comments on our lefty sports page.

If you have any thoughts, experiences or ideas about left-handedness that you would like to share with other members, we would love to hear from you. Click this link to email Lauren

We regret we cannot enter into personal correspondence, but your email will be considered for possible inclusion in a future newsletter.

Left-Handers Club Member offers

We will sadly be saying goodbye to an old friend in the next few weeks, when one of our favourite left-handed fountain pens, the Escher is discontinued. This pen has been one of our most enduring and popular stock items, but can no longer be manufactured and we would like to offer you our Club Members the opportunity to purchase this distinctive smooth-writing pen for the last time, together with matching biro in a stylish two piece set.

The Escher left-handed pen set

The Escher is a strong, heavy pen with steel case and wide, heavyweight barrel. It has a very smooth writing medium left-handed nib and is the only pen in our range with a screw cap. Both pens have a distinctive black rubberised finish with matt steel fittings, giving them a look and feel of real quality. The set comes in a stylish presentation pen box, and would make an ideal and thoughtful gift.

As always, we like to give you a special offer on items where possible. The normal retail price for this pen set is £34.95, and we are discounting it to all customers for £19.95 for a limited period. We can offer the Escher two piece pen set to Club Members at an EXCLUSIVE PRICE of only £14.95, plus postage. This offer is valid on orders received by us before 30th April 2005, subject to availability. Offer price available to LHC members only - Click here to see full product and ordering details


We have a few of the new 2005 left-handed Desk Diaries and Block Calendars left and we are going to discount them in our shop soon, so this is the last chance for members to get hold of these unique items at reduced prices.

The Left-Handers Desk & Engagement Diary 2005 last few remaining. Spiral bound with a two-page spread for each week. It has facts and information on the right and planning pages on the left - tailor made for lefties. 115 pages. Size: 7 x 9 x 0.5 inches; 178 x 229 x 13 mm. Price reduced to UK Pounds 5.99 (was £9.99)
2005 desk diary full information and ordering page.


The Left-Handers day-to-day Calendar 2005 last few remaining. Block design with a tear-off page for each day with loads of lefty information. 365 pages. Size:4.5 x 4.5 x 1.7 inches; 114 x 114 x 43mm. Price reduced to UK Pounds 5.99 (was £9.99)
2005 block calendar full information and ordering page.

Thanks for the feedback from those of you who have already purchased the Calendars. We are pleased that the lefty comments brighten your day!

Gifts and gadgets

In our quest for new left-handed products and information that might interest you, our team are constantly scouring the web and sometimes we come across products that are just too good to miss, even though they aren't left-handed. So we don't forget about them, we have started a new section of our web site where we are putting links to people that have gifts and gadgets that have particularly impressed us, and which we think you, your family and friends will enjoy.

The first one we have included is Swank Martini who make a fantastic range of martini glasses and cocktail accessories and we hope you like them.

Click here to see our page about them
and more pictures of their glasses

The Omega design Martini glass The Swerve design Martini glass

We'll be in touch again soon

Keith and Lauren Milsom
and all at the Left-Handers Club

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