Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Right-handed and left-handed people do not see the same bright side of things

28.01.2010
Despite the almost universal association of the right with life, right, positive and good things, and the left with death, inadequacy, negative and bad things, recent researches show that left-handed people hold the opposite association. Thus, left-handers become a critical case in which conceptual associations, result of a sensory-motor experience, and those that rely on linguistic and cultural uses, are contradictory. A sensory-motor experience in itself is capable of creating abstract conceptual associations.

These are the conclusions derived from various studies compiled by professor Julio Santiago de Torres, from the Department of Experimental Psychology and Behavioural Physiology at the University of Granada, who has conducted a bibliographic review on the subject, published in Ciencia Cognitiva: Revista Electrónica de Divulgación.

One of the latest works on this subject was undertaken by researcher Daniel Casasanto (Stanford University), who found out that left-handers tend to associate the left with nice and good things and the right with ugly and bad things, which goes against the enormous power of cultural context in which they live and the language they use.

Good things and bad things

In one of his experiments, Casasanto presented participants a diagram that depicts a character who was planning a trip to the zoo, and who loves zebras and thinks they are good, but dislikes pandas and thinks they are bad. The participant had to draw a zebra in the box that best represented good things and a panda in the box that best represented bad things.

Most of right-handed people located good things in the box on the right while left-handers placed them in the box on the left. Interestingly, only 14% of participants thought that his election had to do with what his dominant hand was.

Then, to see whether the left or right location could affect rating dimensions on abstract personality, he asked another group of participants to rate pairs of objects depicted in another drawing, indicating which of the two seemed more intelligent, more honest, more attractive and happier. And in a final experiment, participants were asked to assess which candidate would they chose for a job, or what product would they buy in a store.

In all tasks, right-handers tended to evaluate the object on the right better, while left-handers favoured the one on the left. Therefore, UGR professor says, "these results demonstrate that perceptuomotor experiences, in this case the greater ease and fluidity of interaction with one or another side of space, are sufficient to generate stable associations between specific dimensions, such as space, and concepts of a high degree of abstraction, such as kindness, intelligence or honesty."

These data provide one of the first clear demonstrations that sensory-motor experience can exert a powerful influence on the conceptualization of even our most abstract ideas.

A wrong world

As professor Santiago explains, "a left-handed person has often the feeling of having been born in a wrong world. From scissors to computer keyboards designs, everything is projected for right-handers. The fact that left-handed people are able to adapt quite well to these manual controls that are contrary to their nature, indicates a first interesting fact that it is often overlooked: undoubtedly, there is a difference in motor ability between the dominant and the non-dominant hand, but it is far from being a great difference."

In fact, the researcher points out, "speed and accuracy differences between the right and the left hand that are usually found, do not go beyond 10%. In addition, the left hand can be trained to high levels of implementation, as in the case of musicians or typists. In contrast with the intensive use of the right hand that characterizes an average right-handed person in over 90% of the tasks.

Julio Santiago recalls in his article that association between right and left with the symbolic systems of the world cultures "is deep, and reaches almost every aspect of life. Thus, right and left are respectively associated with aristocratic and common people, male and female, sacred and profane, good and bad. Eventually, these partnerships control aspects of life as varied as the position in which dead are buried, distribution of space in homes and churches, positions in which men and women sit at the table or in the temple and the hand chosen for saluting, swearing, eating or bathing."

Moreover, Santiago points out, "even vocabulary is also full of similar facts such as, for example, the word "siniestro", which derives from sinister, "izquierda" in Latin.

Reference: Julio Santiago Torres, Department of Experimental Psychology and Behavioural Physiology, University of Granada. Tel: (+34) 958 246 278. E-mail: santiago@ugr.es

Julio Santiago Torres | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ugr.es

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>