05 May 2008

Leftwards leaning lightly

I read David Wollman's A Left-hand Turn Around the World looking for some insights into my artistic, emotional, brilliant Southpaw son that will help me figure out how to approach his stubbornness without ruining his talent for persistence.

Obviously, this isn't a parenting advice manual. You look for your parenting advice wherever you want it, and I'll look for mine where I feel like it. (Clearly, my son comes by his stubbornness naturally.)

Unexpectedly, I found a wonderful gem of a hypothesis ensconced comfortably in Wollman's ambles from research lab to research lab. The hypothesis is: people are not right or left handers, but are instead mixed-handed or have a single hand they prefer. Wollman spends with a variety of researchers exploring this idea by examining spinning cilia under a microscope, observing primates, and zapping brains with electricity. Unfortunately, he also consults graphologists, palmists, and a satanist, to no great benefit - they come off as posturing charlatans in this account.

I also read about the Edinburg Handedness Survey, and experimented with my family with the following results:

Here's a quiz for you to take as well, from UCLA: Handedness Questionnaire. One piece of advice from Wollman - even handedness researchers sometimes misidentify their hand preference from memory. I tried observing the handedness to make the table above, surprising my husband by catching him throwing a ball left-handed, for example. I used the exercise to teach the kids a bit about the scientific method and they seemed to enjoy being part of an 'experiment'. I tried to find more info about the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory on wikipedia, but they didn't have any... then.

Lo! But now they do. Contribute at will.


Carole Seawert said...

If you are interested in a book for right handed parents who have left handed children, a new book called 'Your Left handed child' has just come out. I read it last week and it's got some interesting stuff in it. You can buy it here:


Carole from www.thelefthandedsite.com