Thinking book mark: handedness

One way I use this blog is a jotter for ideas that I’m mulling over and discussing. By having all these musings in one place, I’m creating a sort of written Kalideascope. This weekend I’ve been thinking a lot about left-handedness.

I take it for granted that I am left handed. It surprises me how surprised people can be to discover that I am left handed. There is some loose cultural association between left-handedness and creativity. I thought, in the context of my broader creativity work I should pay a bit of attention in future to what all this left-handedness means.

From some casual internet research at the weekend I discover there are two kinds of left-handedness, and these relate to the hemispheric functioning of the brain. In most right-handed people, the right brain deals with language leaving the left brain free to give fine motor control to the right hand. This way a right-handed person can talk at the same time as doing something difficult with their hands.

For some left-handed people, the set up is completely flipped. What happened on the left now happens on the right and vice versa, and the functional relationship is the same. But for another group of left-handed people, their brain lateralisation remains the same as for a right-handed person. This means their language and motor control happen in the same part of the brain, possibly making it harder to multi-task.

I’m fascinated by this latter group. While perhaps hamstrung from being less able to have a conversation while cooking the dinner, what different things can a left-handed person of this do while their left-hemisphere is free to think.

My next post of call will be a revisit of Iain McGilchrist’s book, the Master and his Emissary (thanks to Søren Willert for the recommendation) which deals with the hemispheric functioning of the brain.

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