Lefty, righty, ambidextrous, or none?!

When I was a kid, and still today, it was very evident that my more dominant hand was my right hand. I used it to eat, write, and basically do just about anything with it. I have a distinct memory of one ordinary day in my primary school gym class. We were told to throw a ball to our partner who was standing on the other side of the gym. I grabbed the ball with my right hand, tried to throw it and immediately felt the most awkward and uncomfortable feeling of my life. The ball did not travel very far, clearly. Feeling very perplexed, I caught the ball that was thrown back to me and threw it back to my partner once again with my right hand. Again, I felt that same awkward feeling. I threw it back once more and decided to switch hands and throw it with my left hand, seeing if that would feel any better. This time, I actually reached my partner and it felt normal to throw with my left hand. Still though, I was utterly confused as to why I was better at some things with my right hand and others with my left. (I later discovered that I use a tennis racket and bowl with my left hand as well). Since this is a topic that has always interested me, I decided to do a little research as to why this happened to me as well as many others across the globe.

Your handedness is determined at birth, and a parent is usually able to tell what a child’s more dominant hand is after they are a few months old. My parents knew that I was right-handed since all they had ever seen me use to do most tasks was my right hand. After realizing that I could do things with both my right and left hand, I thought that I was considered to be ambidextrous, which is when you are able to use both hands to do different things at an equal ability. As I further looked into why I am able to use both of my hands to do different things, I discovered that I am not really a true ambidextrous but rather I am mixed-handed, otherwise known as being cross dominant. What that means is that I am able to do certain tasks with one hand and other tasks with my other hand.

In fact, although it is not definite, it is assumed that people are mixed-handed due to a split of the different hemispheres in the brain. For example, a right-hand dominant person (like myself) has a more dominant left side of the brain, and vice versa. Cross-dominance doesn’t have to be solely just the use of your hands for different actions. Often times, cross-dominance is noticed in sports, where an athlete will perform an action, such as kicking a soccer ball with their left foot, but eat with their right hand. Whenever I spoke to anyone about my cross-dominance, they always thought that it was a strange phenomenon, but it’s a lot more common than one might think. In fact, it is said that cross-dominance occurs to about one-fifth of all people around the world. It is recommended for many that if you are having trouble with your cross-dominance, you should practice and try to learn how to do things with both sides of your body, so that you can actually become ambidextrous.

myenglishimages-com (https://klwightman.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/myenglishimages-com.jpg)

In this case, since we are unable to unquestionably determine why cross-dominance occurs, there is not yet a mechanism to describe this phenomenon. Due to this fact, there is not any kind of causal reasoning to define this occurrence but we are fully aware that it must have something to do with the brain. All in all, it surprised me to discover that I am scientifically cross dominant and not ambidextrous. I think my cross-dominance makes me super unique and I am glad that I am able to impress people by being able to do different tasks with both of my hands.

 

This is a picture of Rafael Nadal who is a mixed-handed athlete.

Spain’s Rafael Nadal plays a return shot to Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov during their men's singles tennis match at Queen's tennis championship in London, Tuesday June 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

(http://az616578.vo.msecnd.net/files/2016/04/26/635972811133219711-1269629425_PS-Nadal.jpg)

“Mixed-handed Children More Likely to Have Mental Health, Language and Scholastic Problems.” Mixed-handed Children. Imperial College London, 25 Jan. 2010. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.

“What Does It Mean to Be Cross Dominant?” WiseGEEK. Conjecture Coroporation, n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.

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