Jump to content
The type specimens of the world in one database …

Do designers use left or right hand (and to what extent)?

Recommended Posts

EileenB

Hebrew was originally chiseled in stone. Holding a chisel with the left hand and hammering with the right lent itself to ergonomically writing right to left.

So, interestingly, it would seem that Hebrew also stemmed from right-handedness.

Link to comment
Ralf H.

somebody here will ALWAYS take the contrary position.

It's not like I am trying to come up with an opposite position. I just play the piano and the guitar and know how this works. And my thoughs about using both hands equally come from my life-long experience of excercising this idea. I didn't made this up yesterday. I gave this a lot of thought.
I don't expect anyone who uses mainly one hand to believe my theory just be reading this discussion. But I would suggest everyone to try their "wrong" hand once in a while. Maybe then they will realize there is some truth in that.

Link to comment
inde

well, guys, nice article, i can write and draw with both hands, mostly i use my right hand, in the test i got "53.8 Placing this subject in the 1st right decile." well i also agree with Herrmann it is clearly how often you exersice you "wrong" hands "precision movement"

Link to comment
pattyfab

And I'm not disputing that you can train your "wrong" hand to perform at a pretty high level. After all, I'm touch-typing as I write this and most of the more commonly used keys are on the left side of the keyboard. But I maintain that we are born with a preference and yes, "because it's easier" most people just use that same hand both for fine motor stuff and strength.

When I was a kid I tried to teach my self to write left-handed. I got so it was legible but never very fluid. It is nice to have activities such as guitar or even yoga that force you to use both.

It would be interesting to know how handedness works in other animals - how it evolved and why.

Link to comment
elizabeth_355

Well, I took the test, and according to the test I'm 100% right-handed ... but I use the mouse with my left hand. I step with the left foot first, and always use the left ear when talking on the phone. My father, sister, and daughter are left-handed.

Link to comment
aric

elizabeth_355 and Quincunx and others point out some of the shortcomings of the Edinburgh inventory; there are so many things that we could do with one hand that it would be impossible to list them all (and the survey would quickly become boring). With the exception of writing, the list of items seems somewhat arbitrary. I haven't read up on the inventory enough to know how the particular items were chosen, or how well they predict lateralization of language functions. It's possible that a different set of questions might yield quite different scores, especially for people who are mixed-handed to some extent.

One of the uses for the Edinburgh survey in neuroscience is to weed out potential research subjects whose brains may be organized in a non-standard way. In the vast majority of right-handed people, key language centers are located in the left hemisphere; a larger percentage of lefties (but still a minority) have these language centers in the right hemisphere, or in both hemisperes. FMRI research involves looking in certain places in the brain for neural activity in response to stimuli, and usually the assumption is made that all subjects' brains are organized in roughly the same way. The only sure way to validate this assumption would be to actually examine each subject's lateralization, via a Wada test or something similar. But that would be expensive and time-consuming and expose subjects to unnecessary risks and discomfort, and in the end the researchers would find out that almost all right-handed subjects had the same lateralization (while a minority of the left-handed ones showed other patterns). So whaddaya do? Administer a handedness inventory and only accept participants with a score close to +100. For this particular job, the imperfections of the Edinburgh inventory aren't terribly problematic.

Link to comment
aric

Patty,

The question about Hebrew and Arabic is interesting, and I don't have a really good answer. Both derive from the Phoenician script, which was also written right to left. The Phoenicians had access to clay tablets (a la cuneiform), papyrus, metal plates, and animal skins, as well as stone, as Eileen mentioned. I imagine the early Hebrews had access to the same implements; seems like they wrote on a lot of scrolls. If the tools most frequently used for writing worked better by being pushed than by being pulled, as perhaps with a chisel, that might incent a right-handed populace to write from right to left.

Link to comment
Linda Cunningham

Interesting discussion, Ralf's contrariness aside. Just because there has yet to be found a specific gene for left-handedness doesn't mean it's not there -- there are lots of other genetic predispositions that can't be nailed to one place on one gene. Yet. There are lots of other more pressing genetic issues to explore at the moment.

I wrote better with my left than my right as a kid, and as others have noted, there was a time when lefties were punished for being sinister, although I wasn't -- I think I just got tired of smearing the ink in my copybook. ;-)

But I still do a lot of things lefty: sure makes being a two-handed beverage consumer more efficient, for example....

Link to comment
Miss Tiffany

I've been right-handed since I can remember, but I use my left foot to kick, I used my left-eye in the viewfinder (used because now I don't use the viewfinder), and I'm pretty sure I prefer starting out on my bike with my left foot too. I think it is about what works.

Link to comment
Berg

According to the test I am 100% left-handed, no surprise there. When I started to write as a child, my writing was mirrorlike, from right to left, inversing all the letters. In first grade at school, the teachers tried to train me to use my right hand, mostly by giving me very low grades each time they caught me using the left hand, but they also gave me low grades when I wrote with my right hand, because my writing was considered too clumsy. So I went on using my left hand and finally they gave in.

Link to comment
fallenartist

Score 60.0.

I consider myself as left-handed, although the only things I do with my left hand is writing, drawing and sometimes eating. Basically, the more "precise" the task is the more I use my left hand. If there is more strenght needed (throwing etc.), I use my right hand.

As for the Patty-Ralph debate I'm on Patty's side. I was born "lefty" as my mom told me I always preferred to use my left hand. At some point I was "forced" to use my right hand for writing as I was smearing ink but nature was stronger :) My parents are both right-handed...

__
AL

Link to comment
pattyfab

Hebrew was originally chiseled in stone.

Do we actually know this? Or is it merely that the oldest surviving examples of Hebrew are stone tablets? Paper was invented centuries or millennia before any of the existing Hebrew samples, is it not possible they wrote on paper too and it didn't survive?

I don't know, just wondering. And did the Egyptians write from left to right or the other way round?

Link to comment
Miss Tiffany

I have to echo Patty's question. Not necessarily because I'm a doubting Thomas, or Tiffany, but that when a statement like this is made it should be, in the very least, backed up by a link or two directing us to reputable sites. This kind of information would be great to add to the wiki, but without a good bibliography I don't know if it should be.

Link to comment
Ralf H.

There is a common misunderstanding with chiseled type: The stonecutters didn't made the shapes, they just chiseled along a preparatory drawing. The same is true for the Roman Capitals. The shapes (for example the serifs) have their origin in brush writings not in the chiseling itself. Looking at the shapes in the Hebrew alphabet, I would guess the same is true here.

Ancient Egypt had different writing systems. Which is not surprising, because we speak of several thousand(!) years. Egyptian hieroglyphs were set left to right, right to left and top to bottom. There were also cursive hieroglyphs and later the right to left scripts Hieratic and Demotic.

The Greeks wrote left to right, right to left and very often »boustrophedon«, where the direction changed in every line. That's why several of our letters got a symmetrical shape, like M which looked very differently in the Phoenician Alphabet.

Link to comment
William Berkson

>Hebrew was originally chiseled in stone.

The original Hebrew script has straight lines, but in those ancient days, according to what I read, they had both clay and waxed tablets that they wrote in with a stylus. I seriously doubt that they normally wrote whacking away with a chisel and stone, even though they did that for monuments. The current alphabet is a pen-based script which they picked up during the exile in Babylonia (6th century BCE), and switched to. The current letters are written left to right, even though they are laid down right to left.

Link to comment
pattyfab

I seriously doubt that they normally wrote whacking away with a chisel and stone, even though they did that for monuments.

I can't help picturing Fred Flintsone at this point.

Did they not use paper)? We know they did eventually with the Dead Sea Scrolls but isn't it possible, given the proximity to Egypt, that papyrus or some equivalent was in use earlier?

Of course since most of the population was probably illiterate there may not have been huge demand for written material outside of monuments or official documents which may have been those clay and waxed tablets.

Link to comment
david h

The development of the Hebrew script. From Early History of the Alphabet: An Introduction to West Semitic Epigraphy and Paleography Joseph Naveh (1987, Magnes Press / The Hebrew University of Jerusalem):

1. Gezer Calender ( limestone). 2. Mesha stele (Moabite Stone). 3. Siloam inscription. 4 7th century BC seals. 5. Early 6th century ostracon from Arad. 6. 2nd centurey BC Leviticus fragment. 7. Medieval Samaritan bookhand

Link to comment
William Berkson

David, does that book address the question of writing media? My guess is that the switch to Aramaic script coincided with a switch from stylus on clay and wax to pen and paper. But I don't know.

Link to comment
Ralf H.

Here is very interesting talk by Jeff Hawkins about how the brain works:
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/125

What reminded me of this discussion of handedness were Hawkins examples of facts that are "thumpingly obvious" to everybody but still were wrong, because they were so obvious that nobody was able to step back and see the bigger picture. One of his examples was the Heliocentric Solar System. Back then it was very obvious that the sun goes around the earth, because no one felt the earth moving at incredible speed thru the universe, but they saw the sun going up and down on the sky every day. The ones who studied the paths of the planets and stars found very confusing data. They couln't understand it, because they tried to fit it in the wrong theory. But once the framework was understood all the confusing data was suddenly easy to explain.

In my humble opinion the same is true for the discussion of handedness. It seems obvious that we are born with a preference for one hand, but there is already enough data to have at least doubts in this theory. Just consider the fact that a very high rate of identical twins don't have the same handedness. To me, this makes it obvious that there must be something wrong with the theory, but some scientist even try desperately to squish those facts in their old theories instead of coming up with a new one.
Once they would embrace the fact that handedness "develops", suddenly all the data would become easliy explainable. You could explain the handedness of identical twins; you could explain why people like me or skilled musicans or surgeons have no problem at all training both hands equally; why there are more young lefties than old lefties; why crabs become left- and right-handed with a rate of 50:50; and so on and so forth. It could be so simple …

Link to comment
pattyfab

It could be so simple …

Yeah but it's not. You still have not explained why, in your magical world where our hands are equally adaptable, anybody at all would "choose" to be left-handed. Are you saying that 10% or whatever of infants decide to be rebellious straight out of the womb? And why would my father would persist in using his left hand when his teachers etc tried to "train" him out of it?

The point I have been trying to make is that handedness may not be specifically genetic, or attributable to just one gene. But that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It could have to do with brain development in the womb or something.

http://www.drspock.com/article/0,1510,5817,00.html

Link to comment
Ralf H.

You still have not explained why, in your magical world where our hands are equally adaptable, anybody at all would “choose” to be left-handed.

I think that's the wrong question. It rather should be: When it's not genetic and we could use both of our hands equally, why aren't their 50 % lefties? In my theory the handedness develops in in the first years after a child is born. And obviously a child doesn't make this choice intentionally in terms of how appropriate this might be for a mostly right-handed society. They start to explore the world with their hands. And once they gained some fine motor skills with one hand, there is no need to train the other hand equally, because they already know to handle their toys or whatever. (I already explained this at the beginning of this discussion.)
My non-scientific belief is, that if we would remove all outside or parental influence on children, we would end up with 50 % lefties and 50 % righties. That's exactly what happens with some animals like crabs. They need to learn motor skills and they develop a handedness. But since they are not tought how to do it, and they don't learn it by adapting their parents behaviour, they choice can go both ways. And so the rate is always 50:50.


And why would my father would persist in using his left hand when his teachers etc tried to “train” him out of it?

In my opinion that's a different story. We have to be careful not to mix up the REASONS that cause handedness with the EFFECTS it has on our brains. You already mentioned brain lateralization. I don't deny all those effects, but I believe they are effects, not causes.


It could have to do with brain development in the womb or something.

Possible. But isn't it much more likely that it happens in the moment we start to use (->train) our hands?

Link to comment
pattyfab

We obviously won't agree on this and I'm not going to pursue it further however obvious it seems to me.

I just want to raise again the comparison of homosexuality - which also seems to involve about 10% of the population (except of course Iran, according to it's loony prez). Some argue it's genetic, others insist it's a choice. Nothing is proven. We are obviously born capable of being either homo- or hetero-. In many societies homosexuality is considered a sin, or even a punishable crime. And yet there are homosexuals. In previous generations (and probably still today if you consider Senator Larry Craig) people would try to "train" themselves to be straight, even marrying and having kids. And yet...

So there are obviously behaviors or whatever you'd call them that are too complex to be attributed to simple nature or nurture. I'm going to repeat the quote that - to me - sums up this debate:

”Handedness is a complex behavior,” Dr. Geschwind said, ”and no complex behavior has ever been shown to be due to only a single gene without any environmental influence.”

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Our partners

Discover the Best Deals for Freelance Designers.
Discover the fonts from the Germany foundry FDI Type. A brand of Schriftkontor Ralf Herrmann.
Get to your apps and creative work. Explore curated inspiration, livestream learning, tutorials, and creative challenges.
The largest selection of professional fonts for any project. Over 130,000 available fonts, and counting.
Watch our video course about font licensing.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We are placing functional cookies on your device to help make this website better.