mixed up – shaken, but not stirred

Mixed-handed children more likely to have mental health, language and scholastic problems | ScienceBlog.com

When I was a boy, just starting school, the system tested me to see into which hole they could make me fit. There were intelligence tests. There were physicals. There were tests of every size, shape, and color. And among those tests were tests of my handedness.

I liked to write with my left hand. I still do. I can write with my right, but left feels correct. On the other hand, I throw baseballs and play guitar with my right hand. Juggling two balls in one hand is easier with my left than my right, but when juggling three balls in two hands, my right is better at catching than my left. As the doctor said even back then, I have mixed dominance.

I kind of wish someone had told me back then that it made me special, “one out of a hundred” as opposed to making me feel bad because I was inconveniencing them by being different. I was consistently nudged into choosing one hand or the other and more often than not, I chose to be sinister rather than dextrous. If I had known that I was “special,” maybe I would not have given in so easily.

Then again, I am glad that this study was not known back then. I would not have wanted anyone telling me that I was more likely to have problems with language or mental health. It turns out that language arts has always been one of my best subjects. Not just English, either. Foreign languages come easily to me. And mental health? Yes, I have always been a bit flaky, but I am not a danger to myself nor to anyone else. And as for scholastic problems, the only problem that I had for most of my education was a lack of organization. This is probably due to what was eventually diagnosed as a mild case of ADD, so in that respect the above article might have a point. But still, I wonder … would I have gotten a degree in physics if my parents had been told that I had the potential for those problems?

Sometimes I think that we tend to over-react to statements like the one in the link to the article above. But then I remember how the science news cycle works and I remember what I learned about correlation as a science student. It is too bad that more people do not study statistics, logic, and rhetoric. Statistics so that we can see how likely (or unlikely) certain things are and how much error there is in our measurements, polls, etc. Logic so that we can see the progression of ideas and poke holes in fallacies when necessary. Rhetoric so that we can speak and write effectively and conversely to avoid being misled by ineffectual discourse.

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