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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Issue 61, 2015
15 REFLECTIONS • GOWRIE AUSTRALIA • SUMMER 2015 - ISSUE 61 Which way is the (ahem) right way? One of the biggest decisions for parents of left-handed children is whether to teach them skills the conventional right-handed way, or the left-handed way.This decision-making process tends to happen periodically throughout a left-hander's childhood. Teaching a left-hander to play an instrument or knit (to use just two examples), the conventional right-handed way will mean they can learn by doing exactly what their instructor does, have access to mainstream equipment, and fit in physically and aesthetically within groups (for example, all musicians having their instruments facing in the same direction.) However, the conventional way has likely evolved for a reason -- because it suits a particular aspect of the task being undertaken with the dominant hand. This may place left-handers at a disadvantage if they undertake it in the conventional manner, at least until they become proficient enough to cancel out the initial disadvantage. Learning a skill in the left-handed way provides equivalence with right-handers in terms of which hand is doing which tasks, but adds an additional layer of complexity, such as finding an instructor capable and willing to teach a "mirror image" , physically fitting in the reverse item within ensembles and groups, and sourcing specialised left-handed equipment, which is usually also more expensive. While choosing the left or right way is a very individual and context-based decision, as a left-hander myself I feel it is certainly more straightforward to be able to do what the majority do, especially if it is just a hobby and you are not planning on rising to elite levels and attempting world domination. I have heard a rumour among left-handed guitarists that the annual run of left-handed instruments is made while the master luthiers take their annual leave. I cannot confirm or deny this, but it speaks to the feeling that many left-handers have regarding the predicament of fitting in to an oppositely oriented world. References: Adamo, D, & Taufiq, A, 2011, 'Establishing hand preference: Why does it matter?' Hand, pp. 295-303. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3153632/ 'Establishing Hand Dominance', n.d. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from http://www.foreverychild.ca/pdf/finemotor/month5-dominance.pdf Faurie, C, & Raymond, M, 2004, 'Handedness frequency over more than ten thousand years,' Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/ PMC1809976/pdf/15101415.pdf Faurie, C, Schiefenhovel, W, Bomin, S, Billiard, S, & Raymond, M, 2005, 'Variation in the Frequency of Left handedness in Traditional Societies', Current Anthropology, pp. 142-147. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from https://hal-sde.archives-ouvertes.fr/halsde-00184669/document Llaurens, V, Raymond, M, & Faurie, C, 2009, 'Why are some people left-handed? An evolutionary perspective', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, pp. 881-894. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/364/1519/881 Madhusoodanan, J, 2013, December 26, 'Babies Don't Develop Handedness All At Once'. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from https://www.insidescience.org/ content/babies-dont-develop-handedness-all-once/1522 Mastin, L, n.d. 'Right, Left, Right, Wrong! - Handedness and the Brain' Retrieved July 27, 2015, from http://www.rightleftrightwrong.com/brain.html Mazoyer, B, Zago, L, Jobard, G, Crivello, F, Joliot, M, Perchey, G, Tzourio- Mazoyer, N, 2014, 'Gaussian Mixture Modeling of Hemispheric Lateralization for Language in a Large Sample of Healthy Individuals Balanced for Handedness'. PLoS ONE. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from http://journals.plos. org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0101165 Prichard, E, Propper, R, & Christman, S, 2013, 'Degree of Handedness, but not Direction, is a Systematic Predictor of Cognitive Performance. Frontiers in Psychology Front. Psychology'. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3560368/ Treffner, P, & Turvey, M, 1995, 'Handedness and the asymmetric dynamics of bimanual rhythmic coordination', Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, pp.318-333. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from JSTOR. Winerman, L, 2006, 'On the other hand, maybe I do remember', Monitor, Vol. 37 No.6. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun06/ remember.aspx Wolman, D, 2006, A left-hand turn around the world: Chasing the mystery and meaning of all things southpaw. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.
Reflections Issue 60 Spring 2015