Monday, 8 December 2008

Are left handed people stupid?

No of course not, would be my first response. However researchers from Bristol seem to disagree, as can be read in an article on the BBC website "Left-handers' lower test scores". In the article researchers seem to conclude that the lower scores obtained by left-handers and mixed-handers mean they are more prone to cognitive developmental problems. They even advise that a test of 'handedness' is administered to guide early intervention strategies.

Now I haven't had a chance to examine this research, but on the face of it this seems a bit odd. As someone with a background in computer based assessment, I am very acutely aware of validity issues. When computers are used to assess, the question 'is this medium disadvantaging students' is asked very regularly (perhaps even somewhat too often). It strikes me that with our pen and paper based assessments, this question is not asked often enough.

Might it be that our traditional assessment system, that has a very high emphasis on writing skills, is disadvantaging students who are not naturally equip ed to deal well with our particular written tradition?

But even if my doubts are unfounded, is pre-emptive testing really the answer to this issue? Are we going to translate this statistical trend into something that is going to stigmatise individuals without them necessarily having any related difficulties? I think that is really taking things a bit too far.


10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Personally I don't think that right handed people are more intelligent. I think it is just how the individual uses their brain. I am left handed but yes I can also use my right hand to do a lot of things and without sounding big-headed, I am far from thick. I know a lot of right handed people who do not know half of what I do, do not have the same qualifications, common sense,general knowledge, educational background or other such things. It is down to the person and not what hand you use. Left handed people have a tendancy to be on the higher end of the IQ scale and more likely to be on the extreme end of the intelligence scal, and that is proven fact, so how can we be thick.... Tell Einstien he was thick, yeah right. Who make the best artists???

Anonymous said...

actually i red something about left handers get higher and lower average than right hander

Anonymous said...

You red? You mean you read. What a ridiculous thing to say about left handers. I'm left handed and I'm not an idiot. I attend a university and my grades are some of the highest in my class. I've even had professors stop me in the middle of the hallway to tell me that I did an excellent job on the test. They even say I have great common sense on subjects that have to do with politics among other things. You CANNOT base someones intelligence or a whole populous intelligence by the hand they use! What the hell is wrong with people these days?. I agree with the first comment, it depends on how the individual uses his brain. It depends on how much someone studies. Anyone who publishes or does research on that should be fired. Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Wow. All 3 of you have managed to leave a really low impression of left handed people, especially the latest poster. The worst part of your post (I really hope that you are reading this) is: "Anyone who publishes or does research on that should be fired."
Care to explain why? It's a perfectly good research subject.
You seem like someone who supports heavy censorship, and that is not really an indicative of high intelligence...
Seriously, ever heard about statistics?
And what's this crap about "how to use your brain?" There is only one way to "use" it. And that is thinking.

Anonymous said...

I am merely fifteen years of age, I am left-handed. I had a high school reading level when I was seven. I am learning programming, I know computers inside and out, and I am very interested in science, math, and I am learning German as my second language, I have had many challenges in my family life that have prevented me from going to school most of my life. If any of you 'more intellectual right-handed beings' still think that I am slow because I write a particular sentence ten percent slower with my left hand, and I can't shoot a right-handed gun (or whatever it may be) as well as a right-handed person, you have something coming to you.

Imagine if one day you woke up in a world were everything was oriented around left-handed people, everyone writing from right-left, every single knob designed to turn up when you turn it to the left, people driving on the left side of the road, and almost every single common device known to man oriented around left-handedness. I have a few simple questions to state in this matter. Do you think you would adapt - "SNAP!" just like that? Yet we manage to do this everyday with ease - and then you claim that we are stupid? I have three brothers and three sisters, three of which are older than me - I can write more efficiently than my 20-year old brother, now, do you think that if everything were oriented around left-handedness that my brother could write better right-left with his left hand than I could with mine?

The fact of the matter is, we have no choice to decide if we want it this way or not, nearly everything is designed for right-handed people. We are not saying that we are brighter or more intelligent then you, if that's why you treat us this way - we are merely asking you to treat us as equals - of which many of you do not.

The only path to being truly intelligent is through diligence and study, don't believe me? look at almost everyone who's ever discovered something important.

Anonymous said...

Being right handed, as much as i would like to believe this, it is not true. Although i did hear that because the left side of your brain controls the right side of your brain and vice versa, and also because the left side of your brain does more of the thinking than the right side, that means that the right handed people are smarter. But i think it is just random, because obviously left handed people can be smarter than right handed people, but also right handed people can be smarter than left handed people. Even if tests show more right handed people with higher scores in tests, there is equal chance for someone to be either smart or not it's just that the not so smart left handed people were the ones tested.

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Anonymous said...

I think we should be alarmed by the high incidence of idiocy in western society regardless of handedness.

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Anonymous said...

I'm left-handed and you think we're stupid?? Well we're like a 100 times smarter than you little right-handed people! What if everyone that was left handed saw this? Now who's stupid now? Cough cough you cough cough!