Why aren't all human-beings ambidextrous?

Studies show that only 10% of the population is left-handed.

The rest of the population is right-handed.

But have you ever wondered how many people are ambidextrous and why?

The Naked Scientist, Chris Smith says it is an interesting fact about humans that we do have a dominant hand.

READ: Naked Scientist: Why yawning is contageous

What we do know is that it is all to do with which side of your brain is dominant. And because one side of your brain controls the opposite side of your body, the dominant side of your brain seems to be the part of your brain where language is based.

Dr Chris Smith, The Naked Scientist

And in the vast majority of humans, 90% of us, language is in the left side of the brain. That means the dominant hemisphere of our brain is the left side.

Dr Chris Smith, The Naked Scientist

And therefore your dominant hand, that you prefer to use is your right hand. That's not to say though that you can't become very good at using the opposite hand.

Dr Chris Smith, The Naked Scientist

We have probably become very good at doing things with our right hand because we practice, because we prefer to use it.

Dr Chris Smith, The Naked Scientist

But actually, in people who have a disability or can't use their preferred hand and have to use the other hand, a friend of mine broke her arm for example and because she couldn't use her preferred hand, for example, she had to learn to the right because it was exam time at the university.

Dr Chris Smith, The Naked Scientist

And she said had to learn to take lectures and do exams with the wrong hand, and she said although it felt terrible to start with, she became quite good and could write neatly with the wrong hand quite quickly.

Dr Chris Smith, The Naked Scientist

And until it became ok to be left-handed, 100 years ago, people with left-handedness were regarded as grossly abnormal or as if there was something wrong with them. And we used to punish these people and tie their hand behind their back to stop them using their hand.

Dr Chris Smith, The Naked Scientist

In the modern era, we now know that people who are left-handed, because they were forced to become quite adaptable to a right-handed world because they were in the minority, became quite good at using the 'wrong' hand, their right hand, to fit into our world.

Dr Chris Smith, The Naked Scientist

So actually we are ambidextrous, but we just have a prefered hand when we do things.

Dr Chris Smith, The Naked Scientist

Listen below to hear what else The Naked Scientist had to say...


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