Lefty or Righty: Are You The Hand You Think You Are?

Notice I tilt the paper? No smear +”straight” writing!

Kathy Owen did a post a while back called Land of the Lefty that I absolutely loved. Not only did she have turbo cool facts about Lefties, but she got me thinking about my own handedness.

I grew up left-handed and thankfully bypassed all the “re-training” that was so common in the decades before I was born.

My father is right handed but both my mother and big brother are lefties. I mimicked my brother (yes, I’m talking about the world-famous Bag Whore here) in everything else, so I’m sure the same was true of my handedness.

As the daughter of a military man, I grew up with guns and the joke was that I shot equally well with my eyes opened and closed. I missed everything, whether it was a clay pigeon or a stationary target.

This was a big deal at the time.

Firstly because we were at the shooting range at least twice a month, which equals lots of embarrassment. But mostly because, as the baby sister, I wanted to best my big bro at anything I could. My shooting deficiency frizzled my britches…big time.

When I was about twelve, I finally had a skeet shooting instructor watch me in action and ask my father what my dominant eye was.

“She’s a lefty. Her left eye is dominant.”

Only it isn’t.

[Here’s how to tell which is your dominant eye for shooting.]

We adjusted both the gun and the way I eyeballed things and I hit every clay pigeon that sailed by. In fact, until my brother went into the military, he never beat me shooting again.

Note: Those days are long gone. Mr. Sniper Instructor kicks my a$$ now.

For years, my father swore I was actually “a right-handed person, trapped in a left-handed psyche.” That I’d been brainwashed by the lefties in the household…blah-blah-blah.

Fast-forward to 2007 when my writing chapter had Sheila Lowe, a handwriting expert, come visit. To listen to her analyze the personalities associated with various types of writing was…WOW! Ms. Lowe wrote The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis and a nifty book called Handwriting of the Famous and Infamous and I’m a big fan.

She had us do a few exercises where we’d hold the pen with our fingertips and draw four interlinking circles. She then showed us how to tell from the circles which was our true, dominant hand.

After 30+ years as a lefty, I was shocked to find out it was my RIGHT hand. Holy cowbell! Don’t you hate it when your parents are spot on about something you rolled your eyes over?

Just to give you a quick summary of handedness, there are four main types:

  • Right-handedness is most common. A variety of studies suggest that 70โ€“90% of the world population is right-handed, rather than any other form of handedness.
  • Left-handedness is present in about 10% of the world population.
  • Mixed-handedness, also known as cross-dominance, is being able to do different tasks better with different hands. For example, a mixed-handed person might write better with their left hand, but throw a ball more efficiently with their right. (Yep, that’s me.)
  • Ambidexterity is exceptionally rare, although it can be learned. A truly ambidextrous person is able to do any task equally well with either hand. Those who learn it still tend to sway towards their originally dominant hand.

I am mixed-handed, a fact that was borne out in this handedness questionaire (I scored -10) and I always figured it was because I had both left and right-handed parents.

A summary of my handedness:

  • I write, eat and stir a bowl with my left hand and do everything else either dominant right or mixed.
  • I can write and eat right-handed, I’m just slower and less coordinated at it.
  • I cannot stir a bowl or whip up eggs/batter/whatever with my right hand. I’ve tried.
  • I can write and read upside down. (I can’t write cursive upside down, only print.)
  • I can only stand to wear a watch on my left arm.

Some groovy random lefty history can be found here.

Enough about me, what about you? I’m dying to know the handedness of More Cowbell’s readers.

Are you happy with your handedness? Did you switch your handedness for any reason? Know any cool trivia facts on the subject? Also, if your handwriting has been analyzed, what does it say about you? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!

Jenny

Quick Note: To avoid smeared ink all over your hand, if my paper-tilt method doesn’t work, try out these SmudgeGuard Tablet gloves.

Note #2: To all my longtime readers: YES, you’ve seen parts of this post before. I brought it back because I got in a huge discussion about handedness this week. We’re going to add the new votes to the poll.๐Ÿ™‚

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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54 Responses to Lefty or Righty: Are You The Hand You Think You Are?

  1. Laura Drake says:

    I’ve attributed much of my klutziness to this. I bowl left handed and right footed. Yeah, you can imagine how well that works. Write and eat leftie, bat rightie, raquetball leftie…makes no sense.

    But it is what it is.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Laura, you cannot bowl that way (I’m sure you’ve noticed). Do all your balls end up in the gutter, or in the lane next door? I do all sports righty. All of ’em.

      Like

  2. Lara McGill says:

    Morning, Jenny. Pre-coffee, this is what it says. I have no idea what it means.

    The laterality index for this respondent is: 35.00
    The respondent is in the Middle decile
    The augmented (15 item) index is: 10.00

    My eyes aren’t even fully open. That’s what I get for being on vacation. Excuse me while I go make coffee.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Well, good grief. Reading it like that, I have no idea what it means either! Now I need some coffee. And happy, happy vacation to you. I hope you’re somewhere fun.๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

      • Lara McGill says:

        Aww, thanks Jenny. It’s spring break this week, so I’m away from the classroom. But I’m meeting one of my students tomorrow at Starbucks for some extra help. And while he’s working on his homework, I’ll be working on the book. (At least, that’s the plan.)

        Like

  3. K.B. Owen says:

    Hi Jenny, fab post! And thanks so much for the blog shout-out.

    No big surprise, I’m left-eyed as well as left-handed. Sometimes I think my right hand is only good for using the mouse and typing on half the keyboard (well, maybe also holding my wine glass while I’m shoveling food in my mouth at a buffet).๐Ÿ˜‰ Essentially, my right hand is decoration, LOL.

    I took that handedness survey and got a -90.00. It’s a wonder I survived Catholic school…

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oh my Lord, Kathy…did they try to correct you? I’m hoping they did not. True lefties like you are golden. I think it’s fascinating stuff. My brother and my pal, Laura Drake, are just like you.๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  4. davidprosser says:

    I’m mostly right handed but when it comes to dealing cards I hold the pack in my right and deal with my left hand. Oddly enough my nephew seems to do the same yet most people deal with their dominant hand.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      David, that is so interesting! If you look down the comments, you’ll see a lot of people deal cards with their opposite hand. I had to think about it for a moment, but I deal left handed. Huh.

      Like

  5. melissajanda says:

    I scored a -25. Like you, I’m mixed-handed. I write and draw left handed, throw and use a mouse right-handed, and have no hand preference for opening a box or holding a brush. For the rest I’m dominant in right or left but use the other. I actually had to perform the action because I wasn’t sure of my preference on many of them. I started out writing with both hands, but was forced to choose in school. Also, both of my parents are right-handed, yet three of their 5 children are left-handed. I attribute this to my mother who taught us to write, but held up the pencil and let us choose rather than putting it in our hand. I sometimes wonder if I’d be left dominant if the world didn’t cater to right-handed people. Fascinating post, Jenny.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Melissa! And your mom is one smart lady, letting you kids choose. What do you want to bet that one of your parents was supposed to be lefty, and was trained out of it?

      Like

  6. Annette Gallant says:

    What a neat post! Here’s my results. No big surprise since I do pretty much everything with my left hand. (I catch and throw a softball with my left, so I’ve gotten quick with the glove thing!) My grade one teacher was a nun, but she didn’t have an issue with me being left-handed, so I got lucky. I’m not good at using my right hand for things at all, other than a computer mouse!

    The laterality index for this respondent is: -95.00
    The respondent is in the 9th left decile
    The augmented (15 item) index is: -83.33

    Like

  7. Catie Rhodes says:

    I am mostly left handed. However, I taught myself to crochet right handed (as in, holding the hook in the right hand) on the advice of a crochet instructor. She said left-handed patterns were hard to find, and, if I became an advanced crocheter, I might wish I’d learned to crochet right handed. She also said the majority of her crochet students were advanced crocheters who’d learned to crochet left-handed and now wanted to learn to do it right handed. So just a little morning factoid for you.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Catie, that’s a good point if I decide to crochet. I found out that I knit backwards (I had no idea), and of course I tie my shoes backwards. I love these morning factoids!!!

      Like

  8. Very interesting! My daughter is the only lefty in our family. There are no lefties on my side but there are two on my husband’s side (so it’s his fault) LOL. I better not show her those 56 facts or she will get depressed! Although, she is in good company. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  9. Carrie says:

    Hmmm…I got -30 and 1st left decile. I’m right in the middle of the list so I assume that means mix-handed๐Ÿ™‚ Which makes sense. I write left handed but I do most tasks the way a rightie would.

    Like

  10. I’m right-handed all the way, except for dealing cards and using a broom. Great info here, Jenny!

    Like

  11. I am mostly a lefty, but also do many things like using a scissors with my right hand. I can play handball or throw a ball with both, but I can’t bowl with either๐Ÿ™‚ Fun post, Jenny !!

    Like

  12. No questions that I’m right handed. Hubby, though, is mixed handed…like you. In baseball he used to throw with one hand, bat with the other (though he could switch hit).

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I’ll bet he’s a great switch-hitter! LOL. (Yes, there’s an IYKWIM in there…couldn’t resist.) It’s a right-handed world, so you’re in great company. Although I’ve noticed, there’s an extremely high percentage of lefties in the writing world.

      Like

  13. alberta says:

    couldn’t be more right handed if i tried on that quizz thingy – don’t know if eye is different – am hopeless at all hand ey co-ordination because of dyspraxia so wouldn’t really be able to tell if had an eye even:)

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oh my goodness, Alberta, I just looked up dyspraxia! Holy cowbell, that looks like a lot of effort to work around. And here you are a writer. I’m so completely impressed.

      Like

  14. tomwisk says:

    Hi Jenny, I’m right-handed but, trying to button the left cuff on a shirt with my right hand gives me fits. The right cuff with the left hand.no problemo As for your dad the military likes right handedness, it’s neat and appeals to them.

    Like

  15. Wow – how cool! I am just like you, except that I usually write with my right hand, although i can write with my left and I can write upside down and backwards and with both hands at the same time.

    I eat with my left hand, brush my teeth and put on mascara with both hands (I use my right hand for the right side and my left for the left), I throw a baseball with my right hand but a frisbee with my left. I bowl equally well (or bad depending on who you ask) with both hands (no – not at the same time like a 2-year old would). Stirring, whipping and other kitchen chores are usually done with both hands, depends on where the utensil is that I need – my left side or my right, although I almost always use my right hand when flipping something with a spatula. Tongs, either hand. Weird.

    It seems like whenever I try to learn something new, I automatically reach, or try to learn, with my left hand. It used to drive my husband nuts when he’d go to untie horses that I’d tied to the hitching post, because he said I did it backwards. I just did what felt natural and I guess that was with my left hand.

    I have no idea which eye is more dominant, but I’m pretty sure my left foot is my dominant one (for kicking and balancing, etc.).

    This is interesting stuff. I believe that being mixed-handed and ambidextrous means we are exceptionally bright and gifted.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      This is fascinating, Patricia! I tie stuff backwards too – my hubs is always telling me that about our daughter’s shoes. He says I tie shoes backwards (which I didn’t even know what possible.)

      Oh, and incidentally, I do my mascara with whichever hand matches that eye too.๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  16. Lefty 4 Lyfe! My mom, sister, and I are lefties, my dad was a righty. Hubby’s a righty, and so is my daughter. I haven’t shot a gun in years, but I could do it equally well with either. I had to memorize “righty tighty, lefty loosy” to tighten screws and turn on faucets.

    The laterality index for this respondent is: -60.00
    The respondent is in the 3d left decile
    The augmented (15 item) index is: -33.33

    Like

  17. The Regular Guy NYC says:

    Even though I am right handed my dad does things with both. He writes with his left and but goes bowling with his right hand. I can do some things with my left hand but not much. Interesting post.

    Like

  18. Well, frizzle my britches, my you are talented! Sorry, I couldn’t help it. I love that expression. I am and have always been right handed. I feel rather boring now after reading this post. How I wish I was mixed-handed or ambidextrous. I wear my watch on my left arm. Does that count for anything?๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL. You’re welcome. I love that expression too.๐Ÿ™‚

      I think the left arm watch definitely counts? You’ve got a seriously high “Awesome Quotient” already.

      Like

  19. John Holton says:

    I think I told you this before: since the stroke, my right hand is basically useless for any kind of task that requires fine motor skills. So I’m pretty much left-handed by default. I really need to make more of a point to learn to write with my left hand; I miss using a pencil.

    My brother is left-handed but right-eyed. We figured that out at my uncle’s farm. We were shooting a BB gun at a target, and he couldn’t hit it to save his life until my uncle told him to try shooting right-handed. Bingo!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yup, I know exactly how your brother felt. And yes, you did tell me that. Were you firmly right handed before? If so, I’ll bet that was astonishingly hard for awhile to learn to use the left hand.

      Like

      • John Holton says:

        Not as hard as you might think. I’ve been able to adjust in a lot of ways. Driving’s out, because the gas pedal, gear shift, and ignition are all on the right side. (Maybe I should move to England or Japan…) Typing wasn’t much of an issue; I used my left and right hands there, so it was just a matter of teaching my left hand to move over and cover the keys on the right (and the letters on the right side of the keyboard are the less-frequently-used ones anyway). The key combinations give me a little trouble occasionally, but that’s life. My mouse is set up for the right hand, and I learned to operate it with my left hand that way. Playing the guitar is pretty much out, because I can’t hold a pick and I lack the dexterity to use my fingers. And, as I said, writing with a pen/pencil/crayon/bloody finger is something I want to do but I don’t seem to want to work at it. Maybe I’ll learn between now and Easter, since I gave up Facebook for Lent and have the time.

        Like

  20. I have a very distinct memory of being taught to write by my mother. She laid the pencil down and told me to pick it up. I picked it up in my left hand, thinking for whatever reason that if the writing goes left -> right, then it only makes sense that I write with my left hand. Who knows how a five (?) year old’s brain works? Anyway, she told me that was the wrong hand and put it in my right hand.

    I’ve always wondered if I’m actually left handed. I never taught myself to write with my left hand, although for awhile, I have having a bout of carpal tunnel in my mouse hand and switched to a left-handed mouse. I could never raid in World of Warcraft as well with my left hand, but everything else seemed fine.

    Like

  21. Hi Jenny! I found your post fascinating. My husband and I are both lefties. In fact, our relationship began in college because I was on an intramural softball team and he was the only one with the correct glove to borrow. ๐Ÿ™‚ I always wondered if I was truly lefty because I use scissors like a right – handed person. The survey showed me as -86 or in the 5th left. I assume that means I am left dominant. Now I have to ask my husband to take the survey. We are competitive that way. LOL

    Like

  22. I was interested to hear you say you can write/read upside down. I can write backwards and read upside down๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t seem to substantiate the rumor that my 1st grade teacher required right-handedness, but I remember being frustrated, finally trying the right hand, and writing backwards.๐Ÿ™‚ I found out much later in life that I’m fairly balanced between right and left hemispheres, but am predominantly right-handed except for swinging a bat and kicking a ball. Isn’t it fascinating stuff? If I went back to school it wouldn’t be for an MFA. It would be for psychology/brain science.๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    • I just took the “tests” you linked. I am left eye dominant and 2nd right for handedness. Pretty cool๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      WOW, Robyn! I can’t write backwards…that is fascinating. I think there’s a lot of us who just “got along” handedness-wise, until we figured out what the scoop was. Nobody every really tested for these sorts of things.

      I’m with you on the psychology/brain science. I think that stuff is cooler than just about anything.๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

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