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Left Handed Vs. Right Handed

Left Handed GuitarsHave you ever wondered why some people are left handed and others are right handed? Have you ever wondered why you can't do a dang thing with your left hand but you can write, use a pair of scissors, or snap your fingers with your right hand? and the same goes for those that are left handed, have you ever wondered why you can't use your right hand for hardly anything? or, have you ever asked yourself why everyone isn't left handed or right handed or could use both hands? Well there are a lot of theories about this.

When a person is right handed, according to scientific theory, the left hemisphere of the brain is the dominant hemisphere. The left hemisphere of the brain is said to be the rational side of the brain. This side of the brain responds to verbal instructions, solves problems by logically and sequentially looking at the parts of things, tends to look at differences in things, is more planned and structured, prefers established certain information, prefers talking and writing, prefers multiple choice tests, and also the left hemisphere of the brain controls feelings. A recent study found that right handed people use the right side of the brain to focus on an entire image; however the left side of the brain is used to focus on the details within the image.

85 to 90 percent of the world's population is right handed. Nine in every ten people are said to be right handed. On average, right handed people live nine years longer than left handed people. A good number of technological devices today are made primarily for right handed individuals, such as refrigerators, scissors, microwaves, can openers, button down shirts, guitars, and even military rifles. In the past, many schools have forced children to write right handed.

People who are left handed, according to scientific theory, the right hemisphere of the brain is the dominant hemisphere. The right dominant type talks in feelings, but often in the negative, is past oriented, many people of this type are very charismatic and extroverted, they search for fun activities like painting, making music, working in gardens, and being creative. People who are left handed tend to think of many things simultaneously and start many activities.

Approximately 10-13 percent of the population is left handed. Generally, males are three times more likely to be left handed than females. Genetics can be a cause for left handedness, it does run in the family, however even though both parents can be left handed, there is only a 26 percent change that the child will be left handed as well. There is a theory stating that left handedness is due to brain damage during the birth process. Difficult or stressful births can cause a number of birth defects including if the baby is exposed to higher rates of testosterone before birth. Testosterone suppresses the growth of the left hemisphere and so more neurons migrate to the right hemisphere. The highly developed right hemisphere is now better suited to function as the center of language and handedness. The fetus is more likely to become left-handed, since the right hemisphere controls the left half of the body. The theory goes on to tie the exposure to higher levels of testosterone and the resultant right-hemisphere dominance to auto-immune disorders, learning disorders, and stuttering, as well as increased spatial ability.

Although most infants will begin to reach for things with their right hand beginning at 5-6 months, often they will shortly begin to use the left hand as well. It is not until the child is approximately two years old that parents can fairly accurately determine which hand is preferred. If, however, you notice that your child is only using one hand exclusively before age two, please alert the pediatrician, since it may represent a weakness in the muscles of the unused hand. If you are right handed and need to teach a left handed child, don't try to transform them into using their right hand. Studies have shown this leads to problems with reading, writing, speaking, and other motor skills, along with frustration with school and schoolwork. Instead, just sit opposite your child, and be their mirror they'll learn a task like tying shoes more quickly.

In 2005, statistics showed that left-handed people are more likely to be schizophrenic, alcoholic, delinquent, dyslexic, and have Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

Throughout history being left-handed was considered as negative - the Latin word sinister meant "left". Hence the many negative connotations associated with the word "left-handed": clumsy, awkward, unlucky, insincere, sinister, malicious, and so on. There have been, however, many famous left-handed people, and the associated right brain hemisphere that is said to be more active in left-handed people, has been found in some circumstances to be associated with genius and is correlated with artistic and visual skill.

Looking even farther back into history, during the Ice Age, caves that were found during the Upper Paleolithic period, about 30, 000 years ago, left handedness may have conferred prehistoric man advantages. Looking at 507 handprints from 26 caves in France and Spain, they deduced that 23% of them were right-handed, which indicated that they were made by left-handers. Researchers suggest that because left-handedness is relatively rare it provides certain advantages over those who are right-handed, such as in solo and group fighting. Their findings add to the evidence that the evolutionary forces that cause right and left handedness are independent of culture.

The prominence of right handedness has taken over the world and has been affecting those who are left handed more than just needing special scissors. Here are some other examples of normal daily things that right handed people never think of, but left handed people have problems with on a daily basis.

Left handed people write from left to right, so that their hand smears the fresh ink across the page. Those who are right handed do not touch the ink until they get to the next line, so the ink has a few seconds to dry.

If you grab a coffee mug with your left hand, the picture will be facing away from you. Those who are right handed get to look at the picture while they drink.

Left handed people have little choice where they get to sit at large dinners, lest they bump elbows with a right handed person.

Car stick-shifts are on the right side of the driver. Less frequently used controls, such as headlight switches, are on the left side.

When pants only have one back pocket, it's always on the right side. Those who are left handed have to fumble around for their wallet with their "bad" hand.

I personally am right handed, and looking back on all the information that I have found regarding this particular subject, some of the information applies, some does not... I seem to be very creative and function as a whole from both hemispheres of my brain. However, a friend of mine is left handed and functions greatly from the right hemisphere of his brain. He is very intelligent, however does suffer from dyslexia, and as many left handed people normally do, he has to convert his surroundings to fit his left handedness.

Scientists and researchers will keep compiling information and statistics of the who's, what's, where's, when's and why's of right vs. left handed people, but one thing that I believe that we all have to remember is that everyone is different and nothing can be solely based on which hand we prominently use. Since everyone is different and there may not be as many left handed people out there as right handed people, I believe that we have to all come to some realization that they exist and make the technological devices that are out there a little more compatible and suitable for those who are left handed.

And in closing, when raising your child, as a parent you have a very domineering role in their lives, but always remember that letting them choose which hand they are comfortable with in using gives them individuality as well as gives them an easier time in growing and learning.

By Beth Benson - I love to research and learn anything I can about anything. Science, computers, electronics, astronomy, etc. I love to write and am very open minded and a strong believer that anything is possible and anythi...  

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