Researchers have suggested a link between handedness and ability with mathematics . This link has been proposed by Geschwind, Galaburda, Annett, and Kilshaw. The suggested link is that a brain without extreme bias towards locating language in the left hemisphere would have an advantage in mathematical ability.
A 1967 study by Douglas, found no evidence to correlate mathematical ability with left-handedness or ambidexterity. The study compared the people who came in the top 15% of a mathematics examination with those of moderate mathematical ability, and found that the two groups' handedness preferences were similar. However, it did find that those who came lowest in the test had mixed hand preferences. A study in 1979 by Peterson found a trend towards low rates of left-handedness in science students.
A 1980 study by Jones and Bell also obtained negative results. This study compared the handedness of a group of engineering students with strong mathematics skills against the handedness of a group of psychology students (of varying mathematics skills). In both cases, the distribution of handedness resembled that of the general population.
Annett and Kilshaw themselves support their hypothesis with several examples, including a handedness questionnaire given to undergraduates. Annett observes that studies that depend from voluntary returns of a handedness questionnaire are going to be biased towards left-handedness, and notes that this was a weakness of the study. However, the results were that there were significantly more left-handers amongst male mathematics undergraduates than male non-mathematics undergraduates (21% versus 11%) and significantly more non-right-handers (44% versus 24%), and that there was a similar but smaller left-handedness difference for female undergraduates (11% versus 8%). Annett reports the results of this study as being consistent with the hypothesis, for explaining the cause of handedness, of an absent genetic right-shift factor.
Other examples used by Annett include a study that observed the hand use of teachers of mathematics and other sciences from various universities and polytechnics, as they underwent a personal interview, compared to a control group comprising non-mathematics teachers. Again, a statistically significant difference was found for males, and again Annett states this to be consistent with the right-shift model. Further examples are a 1986 study by Benbow and a 1990 study by Temple of staff at the University of Oxford, which, Annett states, show not that there is a predominance of left-handers in talented groups, whether that talent be with mathematics or otherwise, but rather that there is a shortfall in such groups of people who are strongly right-handed.
A study by C. P. Benbow did not work to prove the mathematical abilities of study participants who are left-hand dominant but to prove the weakness in those who are right-hand dominant. Using a series of questions that relate left-handedness and mathematical giftedness, Benbow was able to base their team's conclusion off of a series of questions that associated hand dominance and mathematical ability.
As a controversial subject, the debate over the link between handedness and mathematical abilities is ongoing. Researchers at the University of Liverpool concluded that there is a moderate, yet significant correlation between mathematical skills and handedness.
|In cognitive abilities||Geschwind–Galaburda hypothesis|
|In eyes||Ocular dominance|
|Handedness in boxing||Southpaw stance||Orthodox stance|
|Handedness in people||Musicians|
|Handedness related to|
|Handedness measurement||Edinburgh Handedness Inventory|
|In major viscera||Situs solitus||Situs ambiguus||Situs inversus|
|Footedness in surfing||Regular foot||Goofy foot|
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In human biology, handedness is the better, faster, or more precise performance or individual preference for use of a hand, known as the dominant hand. The incapable, less capable or less preferred hand is called the non-dominant hand. Right-handedness is most common; about 90% of people are right-handed. Handedness is often defined by one's writing hand, as it is fairly common for people to prefer to do some tasks with each hand. There are examples of true ambidexterity, but it is rare—most people prefer one hand for most purposes.
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An estimated 90% of the world's human population consider themselves to be right-handed. The human brain's control of motor function is a mirror image in terms of connectivity; the left hemisphere controls the right hand and vice versa. This theoretically means that the hemisphere contralateral to the dominant hand tends to be more dominant than the ipsilateral hemisphere, however this is not always the case and there are numerous other factors which contribute in complex ways to physical hand preference.