While many of the myths regarding left-handedness have faded into the past, some of the old stereotypes still live on. To understand the affect handedness may have on the development of an individual it is important to study several aspects of lateralization such as causes, frequency of right or left handedness, potential advantages and obstacles, and common perception.
The jury seems to be out regarding the exact cause of handedness. However, there are many theories and studies on the subject. One study conducted by Helle Kieler of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden found that in men born between 1976 and 1978 who had ultrasound scans in the womb, 32 percent more than expected ...view middle of the document...
Also, a small percentage of individuals who would have naturally been left or right handed may become the converse as a result of injury or brain damage.
Some parents and teachers have been known to train children to switch handedness. There are many experts that would caution against this practice as it could cause confusion. In addition, the individual could miss out on the perks that can go along with left handedness. Some studies have shown slightly higher IQ’s in left handed people. It is thought that creativity comes from the right brain. Berger tends to agree with this when she lists several artists, musicians, and sports stars who happen to be left handed, “Michelangelo, Seal, Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Larry Bird, and Sandy Koufax” (Berger, 2012, p.242).
Lefties are faced with many obstacles as the world is geared for right-handers. Berger sites objects that favor the right hand, “doorknobs, scissors, baseball mitts, instrument panels” (Berger, 2012, p.232). Some objects such as electric saws can literally put a left handed individual in danger of injury. Young children who find certain tasks awkward may feel that they lack ability and are clumsy. They may not understand that the design of the tool is to blame. Unless offered a choice, young children do not realize that there are appropriate tools available which would enable a left-hander to perform certain tasks with ease.
No longer widely embraced are the myths and beliefs which promote a negative image of left-handedness. In decades and centuries past, the left hand was associated with evilness and dirtiness. “In the past teachers would rap the knuckles of a child who tried to use his or her left hand” (Fisher, 2006, p.10). Berger said, “Even today, many cultures endorse the belief that being right-handed is best” (Berger, 2012, p.232). This is an example of the difference-equals-deficit error. Based on Jennifer Fisher’s findings in her thesis for Wichita State University, most left handed individuals have a higher self concept than do right-handed individuals (Fisher, 2006, p.16). This is surprising, considering that most left-handers grow up being referred to as “southpaw” and hearing terms like “left-handed compliment” and “two left feet”.
In Jennifer Fisher’s thesis many contradictory studies are cited from both sides of various opinions...