Left or right?

Drawing Hands

I always thought that left-handedness was supposed to be the mark of creativity and original thinking, as well as that illegible backward hand-writing.

So I looked into it a little. Alan Searleman, a psychology professor at St. Lawrence University did some tests and concluded there were more left-handed people with IQs over 140 than right-handed people. According to Searleman, “Left-handers have a higher ‘fluid’ intelligence and better vocabulary than the majority of the population. This is perhaps why there are more of them in creative professions, such as music, art and writing.”

Ya think?

Not according to Paul Satz, chief of the neuropsychology program at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute: “Being a leftie is not a marker for creativity. That’s sort of nonsense. Creative geniuses have been left-handed and right-handed. Lefties in the population have basically the same level of [thinking] skills as right-handed people. They also live as long. Being left-handed has nothing to do with it.”

(The above kind of stuff is why I’m glad I’m no longer in academia full-time.)

Turns out lots of famous people are lefties. Every U.S. president since Reagan except for Dubya is left-handed. Albert Einstein. Bart Simpson. Half of the Beatles (Ringo and Paul). M.C. Escher.

But not that many authors. Eudora Welty. Mark Twain. Dave Barry? So that brings me to the burning questions of the day:

Are lefties different than righties, and vice versa? If so, how?
Are you a leftie or a rightie?
Does it matter?

Please submit your answers in a blue examination booklet, using APA Style Sheet as your grammar and punctuation guide.

JUST KIDDING! But I am curious to know your answers. I’ll do it too. Thanks!

12 comments to Left or right?

  • I’m preparing my response – BRB

  • Are lefties different than righties, and vice versa? If so, how?

    I doubt it. In my family there are both lefties and righties and they are all certifiable nuts.

    Are you a leftie or a rightie?

    I’m right-handed by the measure of cursive writing only. Not that I can’t write with my left at all – I do print well with my left, but usually write with the right. Unless of course I’m writing with both at the same time and printing, then, the left is equally as developed as the right. And how about feet? Now I can write with my right foot, but not my left. Does that make me strange?

    As for intelligence quotient, I measure above the marker set by Alan Searleman’s research. However, I do admit I am not nearly as cool as Bart Simpson. But I am much cuter than any of the Beatles!

    For the purpose of intensive discussion, I’m also whole brain, with right side prevailing – go figure – and mostly ambidextrous. This drives everyone crazy because I’m always rearranging things in the house and especially on the desk.

    It remains to be seen if I’ll ever be an accomplished writer.

    Does it matter?

    From my perspective – regarding no other facts than personal experience – I would have to agree with Paul Satz.

    Bet you’re sorry you asked. 😉

  • 1. Yes. Lefties and righties are different in that lefties predominantly use their left hand for tasks while righties use their right. (Sorry! I couldn’t resist.)

    2. I’m a rightie. (Righties rule!) 🙂

    3. Yes, it definitely matters. If you’re right handed you’re doing things right. Thus, if you’re left handed you’re doing things wrong.
    (Just teasing!)

    • Natasha

      Sigh. Shaddy, when you’re doing yoga do you find you can do some balance postures better standing on one foot than the other, for example?

  • I have one son who does everything right-handed except write. He has a degree emphasis in Victorian literature. The other three are totally right-handed and probably wouldn’t read Victorian literature if they were paid to. So, yeah, left-handedness makes you weird. (That’s a joke, son.)

    I am right-handed, but a year and a half ago I broke my right hand and still do quite a few things left-handed now. I figure I’ve developed a newer, fresher part of my brain which gives me a reserve when senility hits.

    • Natasha

      Heh heh. That’s interesting that you were able to make the switch-over. I tore my rotator cuff about the same time you broke your wrist (you didn’t trip over that tree root in the state park forest, did you?) and so I couldn’t do much (including putting the car key in the ignition) with my right hand for quite a while. But since I’m left-handed I didn’t have to adapt that much.

  • I’m with Shady 100%! 🙂

    I don’t think there’s much difference really. I’ve never seen a difference anyway. I’m a rightie but both my parents are ambidextrous. I have no idea how that happened.
    I also have a couple of friends that were born lefties but were forced to use their right hands when they were young by their parents. There is nothing particularly special about any of these people.

  • Natasha

    I’m left-handed, as you probably guessed. A right-handed person would NEVER deign to do a post like this!

    I tend to think big-picture first and then drill down to the detail level. In my [paying] work, there are a couple of different philosophical/methodological camps, and it seems to me that there is a higher percentage of left-handed people in my camp. That’s a totally non-objective view based on an extremely small sample size and probably my own biases.

    It seems that a high percentage of my music friends are lefties.

    No other lefties in my family. A. writes software code in his spare time for fun, so he’s definitely more detail oriented than I am.

    I find certain yoga postures are easier on one side of my body than the other.

    Years ago when I was in a body cast for so long and couldn’t bend over, my toes got pretty agile in picking things up, but I can’t remember if I was more right-footed or left-footed.

    My hand-writing absolutely sux and is completely illegible to everyone, including me, unless I write vveerryy slowly. I do the backward chicken scrawl and it’s tiring. The computer keyboard is a godsend for me.

    I tend to be more right-brained, though since language is a left-brain function, I’m there as well.

    And you righties have NO IDEA. I would LOVE a left-handed digital camera so I could stop taking blurry pictures. Finally they got the scissors thing down. Soup ladles with the little spout thing on the correct side? Fuggedaboutit.

    A left-handed stick shift? Only in my dreams.

  • All I have to say about this is that my dad was a leftie, and he was not a creative person at all! As for our family, I’m a writer, my brother is a musician, my sister does furniture crafts and my mom is great at visual design…and we’re all righties!

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