Left-handers may be better at gaming

The article by Helen Carter is on ABC Science Online.

It’s based on research published in the November issue of the journal Neuropsychology, which is subscription only, so I couldn’t go directly to the source. Hemispheric Interactions Are Different in Left-Handed Individuals is the article title – neither the research nor the journal article are as focused on gaming as the ABC article is.

Questions I have about this include:

  • is a sample set of 100 enough to generalize this?
  • how did they control for physical differences in “pushing the button”?
  • how much performance advantage do left-handers have?  what’s the data?
  • if exercising the left hand as well as the right allows both hemispheres of the brain to develop more fully, as well as communicate and perform more quickly, would there be usefulness in intentionally training us from a young age to use both hands, and thus both hemispheres?

Fascinating! Anyone know more research, or have access to the data from this one? From the article:

Dr Nick Cherbuin from the Australian National University and colleagues report their findings in the November issue of the journal Neuropsychology.

He says the left-hander’s brain is wired slightly differently to the right-hander’s as it tends to be more symmetrical with larger and perhaps faster connections between hemispheres.

The research found that on average those with faster connections were more efficient at performing tasks that require processing in two hemispheres.

“Typically we tend to use more our two hemispheres together when tasks are very fast or very hard and one hemisphere does not have enough resources to cope,” Cherbuin says.

“Examples might be dealing with multiple stimuli that are presented very briefly or tasks which require interpretation of a lot of information such as talking while driving in heavy traffic, piloting a jet fighter or playing fast computer games.

The computer tests in 80 right and 20 left-handers measured how fast information transferred between hemispheres by hitting a button to indicate whether a light flash was left or right of a dot.

Another test to match letters found left-handers performed better when letters flashed on both sides of the dot, requiring collaboration across hemispheres.

Right-handers did better when letters were on the same side of the dot, making them more efficient at single hemisphere processing.

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