Nonfiction: The Left Hander Syndrome, by Stanley Coren

3.0 out of 5 stars Right minded

The word “syndrome” in the title of this book should serve to red-flag contents. Because the author views left handedness as a “pathological” aberration from the norm, his approach is to analyze it accordingly, which he does with painstaking attention to the science and statistics of neuropsychology. Much of what he presents as fact is interesting, and may be correct. The connection with birth trauma is particularly valuable. Coren does not, however, devote much time to addressing the opposite phenomenom, that of the gifted left-hander. My concern with this unbalanced approach is that it creates the impression that most, if not all, lefties are somehow seriously hampered in their abilities to lead “normal” lives. In truth, southpaws are disproportionately represented among athletes, artists, and intellectuals. Regarding life span, a study conducted in 1993 by the National Institutes of Health and Harvard University found no significant difference among death rates for right or left hand dominance.
All human characteristics have their good and bad features, so why should left-handedness be any different? Just something to keep in mind….

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