Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Out of Left Field?

How can you write with both hands in different languages?

President Garfield
  • Garfield taught himself to write with both hands. He also knew Latin and Greek. He sometimes would show off and write with both hands at the same time, each in a different language!

Do you need to be a leftie to be a president?

In middle school I was taught that in order to be president of the United States, you had to be native-born and at least 35 years of age. My teachers left out the requirement that you be left handed. While not formally a requirement, lately being a lefty has been pretty helpful for becoming president: five of the last seven presidents have been left handed.

But which tongue are they using?

The same chap that identified a region of the brain specialized for language Paul Broca (Paul Broca) also suggested that a person's handedness was opposite from the specialized hemisphere (so a right-handed person probably has a left-hemispheric language specialization). But the kick is: this is not a mirror correlation (that is, a majority of left-handers also seem to have a left-hemispheric brain specialization for language abilities). Tricky business, eh? For over 150 years, many researchers have been trying to figure out this robust-but-imperfect correlation between handedness and brain lateralization. We are still trying.


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