What you'll need:
- A pen or pencil
- Paper or a notepad to write your findings on
- An empty tube (an old paper towel tube is good)
- A cup of water
- A small ball (or something soft you can throw)
- Write ‘left’ or ‘right’ next to each task depending on what side you used/favored.
- When you’ve finished all the challenges review your results and make your own conclusions about which is your dominant eye, hand and foot.
- Which eye do you use to wink?
- Which eye do you use to look through the empty tube?
- Extend your arms in front of your body. Make a triangle shape using your fore fingers and thumbs. Bring your hands together, making the triangle smaller (about the size of a coin is good). Find a small object in the room and focus on it through the hole in your hands (using both eyes). Try closing just your left eye and then just your right, if your view of the object changed when you closed your left eye mark down ‘left’, if it changed when you closed your right eye mark down ‘right’.
- Which hand do you use to write?
- Pick up the cup of water, which hand did you use?
- Throw the ball, which arm did you use?
- Run forward and jump off one leg, which did you jump off?
- Drop the ball on the ground and kick it, which foot did you use?
So what side do you favor? Are you left handed or right handed? Left footed or right footed? Is your right eye dominant or is it your left?
Around 90% of the world’s population is right handed. Why most people favor the right side is not completely understood by scientists. Some think that the reason is related to which side of your brain you use for language. The right side of your body is controlled by the left side of your brain, and in around 90% of people the left side of the brain also controls language.
Others think the reason might have more to do with culture. The word ‘right’ is associated being correct and doing the right thing while the word ‘left’ originally meant ‘weak’. Favoring the right hand may have become a social development as more children were taught important skills by right handed people and various tools were designed to be used with the right hand.
Around 80% of people are right footed and 70% favor their right eye. These percentages are lower than those who are right handed and this could be because your body has more freedom of choice in choosing its favored foot and eye than that of its favored hand. In other words you are more likely to be trained to use your right hand than your right foot and even more so than your right eye.
It’s not strange to find people who favor the opposite hand and foot (e.g. left hand and right foot), and some people are lucky enough to be ambidextrous, meaning they can use their left and right sides with equal skill.
Try testing others and coming to your on conclusions about what side the human body favors and why.
Extra: Are you more likely to be left handed if one of your parents is left handed? What are some of the possible disadvantages for left handed people? (Tools, writing materials etc) Do left handed people have an advantage in sports?
Interesting fact: In 2009, only 7% of the players in the NBA were left handed while in 2008 around 26% of MLB pitchers were left handed.
Is it better to be left handed in some sports than others? What do you think?