Friday, November 7, 2008

Left-hand people 'more inhibited"

In case you didn't see it ... here's an interesting article published online by BBC News.

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."


  1. As a right handed person with a left handed son, also having many both left and right handed friends, I find the revelations of this study of 100 people inconclusive.

  2. There's more than a germ of truth in the conclusions, but the selected data and hypotheses might be overly narrow.

    Among other things, left-handedness is not necessarily the principal, let alone the only, manifestation of a person's considerable use of the right-hemisphere of the brain. (By the way, the reason why the left-hand is governed by the right-brain is because the neural pathways criss-cross after leaving the brain.)

    I'm right-handed but my left-eye is considerably stronger than my right. Same goes for my mother, who is a talented painter. Another inherited peculiarity in my mother's visually intuitive family, several of whom have been skilled visual artists, is that our left eyebrow tends to cock downward more than the right, as our left eyes seem to get more "excercise", ie do most of the work. This shows constantly in photos of my mother, her mother, her grandfather, and me, and my 8 yr old daughter who is already especially skilled at drawing. Yet we write and draw with our right hands.

    It would seem that the more significant question is just HOW do
    a person's left and right brains relate to each other? The physical connection between them is the corpus callosum, but simply having a physical connection (as everyone does) doesn't necessarily mean that the two ways of perception are well integrated. I speculate that integration between the two halves is particular to artists and other kinds of "visionaries", as opposed to unintegrated brains which are either overly rational or overly non-rational.

    For example, the ghastly charlatan Ayn Rand was "rational" to the point of madness; and at the other extreme, someone who has "visions" without the ability to translate them logically will not become a successful artist, but rather a babbling schizophrenic vagrant.

    But then, the insanely rational types like Ayn Rand and her protoge Alan Greenspan do a lot more damage to the world than pitiable babbling vagrants.

  3. I agree with Jar, 100 people isn't a very large sample. However, it did conclude that left handers are avid list writer and they colour code. I'm a left hander, and that just about sums me up!


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