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Left-Handedness Research: Time To Start From Scratch?

Have We Been Wrong The Whole Time About The Cause Of Left-Handedness?

The conventional wisdom that the science world has always provided us with suggests that left-handedness is facilitated by the predominant use of one hemisphere of the brain over the other. However, new research is beginning to show that we may have been very far away from the truth.

We may have to look a lot further south in our biology for the answer, in fact, as far south as the spinal chord. A new study by Dr. Sebastian Ocklenburg and a team of bio-psychology experts from South Africa and the Netherlands has concluded that the genes that cause left-handedness are already asymmetrical in the womb and that the results of the study “fundamentally change our understanding of hemispheric asymmetries.”

We have been labouring under the idea that each hemisphere controls the body on the opposite side. Many studies have made reference to the fact that this may be to do with natural selection, but Ocklenburg and company disagree. The group’s findings suggest that by 13 weeks there is already asymmetrical activity in the baby’s spinal chord and that they have been observed sucking one thumb over the other.

It is generally accepted that genes play some role in the determination of who is and isn’t, a lefty. Even though this is true 25% of the time, is it isn’t a deciding factor. There is another theory saying in a pre-modern world, being a lefty would have given you an advantage in a fight because the opponent wouldn’t be expecting an attack from that side.

We may be headed in the ‘right’ direction, but it looks we have a long way to go until we truly understand the biological reasoning behind being a lefty. But hey, maybe a little mystery isn’t a bad thing.


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