Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Urban myth: more left-handed stutterers?

Check out this article on the Day of Left-handers: here. This is another urban myth.
Stuttering and dyslexia occur more often in left-handers (particularly if one is forced to change their writing hand as a child).
 Or are there more left-handers who stutter??? But I seriously doubt stuttering can be induced by changing writing hand?

25 comments:

Jerome said...

I'm a left-hander and in first grade they tried to force me (briefly) to write with the right hand. But I think I was stuttering before going to school. So this can't be the explanation I guess.

Rob said...

What does it mean if I am ambidextrous?

Rob said...

I am an ambidextrous stutterer - how rare am I?

Behnaz said...

It has been shown empirically that there are a high percentage of left handed stutterers (about 25 percent compared to a 7 to 10 percent occurrence among the general population).

As far as the theory that forcing a left handed child to use their right hand can induce stuttering, I don't know that there is much evidence to back that up.

woodpaul said...

I'm a left-handed indeed.

There might be some relation. The left hemisphere of the brain - what is responsible for talking - may be not so developed, that's why we use our left hands. (There is a cross-relationship between the hemispheres and hands.)

Tom Weidig said...

So where is the evidence?

I don't think I have seen any.

Tom

Anonymous said...

I am left handed stutterer but i wasnt forced to use my right hand. I dont think the forcing has any connection with stuttering. Maby some psychological, like low self esteem.. but that is minimal

Einar said...

I happen to be left-handed too, never was forced to write with the right hand though... I think the question if there is a connection with left-handedness and stuttering definitely should be researched upon further...

Ora said...

Let me pass on an interesting story

Someone that I know from the American Institute for Stuttering(AIS) practice/support group in New York is British, and moved back to London a few years ago. He was recently in New York and told this story.

He's a participant in a stuttering service or educational organization. His organization was being honored at a reception where the Queen would be present, and he was selected as one of the people to represent his organization.

At the reception, it happened that the Queen came by the table, and spoke with him. She said, "You know, my father [King George VI] was a severe stutterer." My friend said said, "Yes, ma'am, I know." The Queen said, "When he was young, he originally wrote with his left hand, but was forced to change to his right hand."

My friend bravely responded, "With all due respect, ma'am, I believe that that's a red herring [something that distracts attention from the real issue]. The current scientific evidence indicates that ...."

He said he was afraid she might respond by having her guards haul him off to the Tower of London [an infamous prison, where people used to be taken before they were hanged]. But the Queen responded graciously ... though he wasn't sure whether she gave any credence to what he said.

It's not often that one has the opportunity to educate a head of state!

luvanzeal21 said...

i dont think left handed people stutter from switching hands. eventhough there was a time in my life where i started writing with my right hand b/c i felt left out that everyone else as right handed. im left handed & I stutter at times..its not very server ( only wen im excited or overwhelmed)

Anonymous said...

Im a lefty and i was forced to write with my right hand for a short period of time (not anymore) but i am not a stutterer. I think there has to be another explanation for it.

Random said...

Some interesting comments - however it's been researched heavily, the right hemisphere of the brain is typically hyperactive and "out of sync" with other parts controlling the speech. This is something more common in people who've suffered the likes of strokes and other types of brain damaging problems. It's also rather common in people with over or indeed under development in one side of the brain. Ambidextrousity is a common "cause" of this, as for outright handedness (more common in left handers etc) it's been proven that it's twice as likely to occur with AD or left handed people than right handers.
For note, I'm ambidextrous (which doesn't have anything to do with writing, that's just coincidental) and have a stutter. I've above average intelligence, abnormal communicative skills and other issues relating to the autistic spectrum and hyperactivity. Seems to fit, then again I'm no doctor :)

Jen said...

Here's an interesting study cited in Time nearly 70 years ago: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,802060,00.html?promoid=googlep

The gist: far from causing stuttering, forcing children to switch from left-handedness to right-handedness was associated with less stuttering. Left-handers and ambidextrous students both had more than twice the stuttering rate of right handers and switchers. Of course, those able to successfully switch may have had more developed left brains in the first place (that old problem of correlation vs causation).

Anonymous said...

I for one believe switching hands can be a cause of stuttering. I'm 16, a born lefty but my father highley incoraged me to be right handed in everything I did (baseball, eating and what-not) and I quickly developed a studer. I've been mainly right handed since 3 or so but can still use my left hand better than most people. I talk fine around my friends and usually adults but I can hardly talk to my dad, it's usually extremely hard to get each word out and about a third of the time I can't get the fist silible out. Other than that I have difficulty speaking in front of crowds, or to authority like the principal. Also I don't usually answer the phone because I often get stuck in the middle of a sentince unless it's a close friend. However my worst problem is that if someone ask me my name I can rarely get past the first letter in my name. :/ I can talk fine when I'm exited about something though. And also when I was younger I talked extremely fast. If I got exited and told a story only a few of my best friends could actually understand me (even though I wasn't stuttering, just because I talked so fast) at the age of 13 or so I learned to talk slower so people could understand me.
My dad dosn't forcing a child to change from left to righty could be a couse of studdering for me, and I don't ever plan on telling him, cause it wouldn't do any good, just make him regret he did that every time he talked to me. :D
-Nathan

Lani said...

I'm a lefty and when I was around 3 or 4 yrs old I started stuttering because my mom started to make me use my right hand. Our neighbor noticed my stuttering and talked to my mom about it. She noticed how I interacted with my parents; with my dad I was fine since he didn't make me use my right hand but with my mom there was this fear. My mom stopped making me use my right hand and my stuttering stopped.

markscosmiclight said...

Right might be wrong where less is more!

It is sad to see here that no one is addressing the true cause of left- handedness but instead just beating around the right handed bush over and over and going nowhere very fast except to the backwards world of right handed bigotry. We need to address the physical facts of the brain before we merely talk of the outward signs of which hand is used for writing. Or which social and religious stigmas have forced left-handers by the beliefs of the bible as the main cause of this oppression to otherwise born left-handers - That it states "At the Right Hand of God" over 150 times in the bible. Notice that it never states "At he Left Hand of God." I rest my case.

The facts are such: that high testosterone in some mothers amniotic fluid will suppress the left lateral side of the brain, allowing the right to outgrow the left. This causes the left handed trait at approximately 6 weeks in the fetal stage. The high testosterone levels in some of these mothers also causes more left handedness in twins and even yet more so in female twins. I learned this from a nurse who taught a class on the human brain for new faculty when I was hired as adjunct professor of astronomy at a university a few years ago. Her husband was a brain surgeon and they worked on life-flight emergency rescue missions for brain trauma patients. She had all the medical research about the human brain and especially on the true cause of born left handedness.

These truly born left-handed people have a larger right lateral side brain since 6 weeks after they were conceived- I also happen to be a born left handed artist-astronomer-philosopher-metaphysician-genius-inventor-philosopher. Thus it has been shown many times that true born left handed people are most of the better artists, musicians, inventors, scientists, leaders of the world, and as it has also been shown, most [over 51 %] of the Mensa Society of higher IQ members are left handed people. They were not told, “Oh, so you are left-handed? You should go to join Mensa!” It’s not after the fact folks. It’s a double blind proof test from before birth- Yes it’s true and not a myth that if you look at all the geniuses in the world, they are almost all born as left handed people; ie. Einstein, Feynman, Pauling, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Rembrandt, M.C. Escher, almost all the greatest genius comedians: Woody Allen, Sid Caesar, Richard Prior, Billy Crystal, All three Stooges, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Marcel Marceau, Carol Burnett, George Goble, Jerry Seinfeld, etc, etc, etc. Yet many other left handed musicians such as myself will play guitar as right handed as do Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, David Bowie, David Byrne, etc. Where others such as Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix played left handed. Merely placing the writing instrument or any instrument for that matter into a left-handers right hand, and stating that “There you are Johnny; now you are doing it right like a good boy!” does not change their genius level brain later in life or change them as defined as a now “right handed”. Right might be wrong where less is more! Yet it may be shown to make them uncomfortable and confused though, possibly leading to stuttering and other neurological dysfunctions. How would you feel as a right hander if we forced you to write left handed? Haven’t thought of that one, huh? Let’s put your shoes on backwards on the other foot for a change and see how uncomfortable you feel. Then let a Catholic nun beat you for trying to change back to “your good book and God’s sense as normal belief”. Have you tried it lately? Then how about if we slapped you in class to humiliate you in front of everyone else if you tried to do it again to your ‘right handed normal’?

markscosmiclight said...

Feeling a little threatened now? You see the stupidity in this? What’s worse is that you righty’s are stupidly trying to force the more intellectual left-handers to become less intelligent like you. How is your intelligence quotient feeling about now? How about your emotional quotient? Embarrassed into stuttering a little maybe? Angry, threatened, irritable and confused? Possibly even suicidal? Think about this aforementioned scenario for few minutes before you respond. Why on earth would any sane human, shy of Catholic nuns, force other left-handed people to write right handed? Because they are religiously stigmatized by ignorant thought and failed bigoted philosophies from the bible and backwards laws of the universe overrun by ignorant people. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “God must have liked average people because he sure made allot of them.” That’s the fact. Lets get real people and stop the ‘right handed God’ nonsense now. And oh, by the way, when was the last time you missed seeing God writing with his left hand? What about ‘her Goddesses’ left hand?

– Mark Seibold, Retired IT Technician, Artist-Astronomy Educator, Portland Oregon

Anonymous said...

Mark you seem very upset and more than a little emotional. And not to make you upset but 'IT technician' isn't the highest pinnacle in life.

Bethany Joy said...

Ouch, Mark, it sounds like you had a tough time as a kid, and it left some bitterness. I'm sorry about the insensitivity you dealt with. I would like to address some of your misconceptions, however, by stating that I'm a right-handed education major who's a Christian. My boyfriend is a left-handed, extremely intelligent person. I would never DREAM of putting him down for being a lefty, nor would I ever want to try to make him any less intelligent than he is...that's one of the reasons I love him. In addition, as a teacher-to-be with a minor in psychology, I am well aware of the physiological aspects of left-handedness, and I will never force any left-handed child in my classroom to write otherwise. Lastly, as I Christian, I believe that God made each and every person uniquely, and he made no mistake in making some people left-handed, nor would He ever say that one hand is better than the other. Therefore, I entreat you to rethink your stereotype about right-handed, averagely intelligent, and Christian peoples. Again, I wish to convey my deepest empathy for your hardships as a child. :/

Bethany

markscosmiclight said...

Anonymous- This is not a discussion about emotions or your misunderstanding of what an IT Technician is. Are you aware that Einstein’s early job as a patent investigator would be defined today as an IT Technician? I only used the term IT Technician as a general expression of the nature of the work of my early career since age 19. I went on in my middle twenties through my early thirties to supervise in one of the largest computer centers on the west coast in handling confidential and sensitive information and data storage technology [this was an intense job of training many new technicians in a large micrographics data storage technology lab], then to design and build my own home for my family, I also designed all of the landscape architecture; later becoming an astronomy teacher in a Christian university, then achieving award winning status as producing astronomy technical art as displayed in NASA web sites and other online venues that I have been duly awarded and commended for in recent years. I was winning art awards when I was in early elementary school years. I was given early special art projects as the class artist in middle grade school years, setting a great example to other students as our farther was an art major in the Portland Art Museum School; our mother wanted to become a Catholic nun just before meeting our father. As the eldest of three siblings, we were all proficient in the arts and sciences and all near Honor Roll status through all grades in school. I was the only one of the three siblings that went on to art school in my early college years, excelling already in highly technically achieved art in my high school years.

This discussion regarding stuttering in left-handers is but a small tip of the iceberg of but only one small symptom of what left handed people suffer under the bigotry of the Christian Religious Fundamentalist Right inflicted onto the world. Let me make this clearer for you- I am not a liberal atheist. I am a concerned grandparent living now in early semi-retirement. I am sorry to say that the universities of academia throughout the world would deem some of the comments above as severely flawed and indeed without any scientific sentiment employed or involved medical and factual studies sighted at all.

This discussion should involve the scientific medical facts that are known causes and effects as categorically and factually documented concerning left handedness. I would suggest that many of you start with the Wikipedia Chapter on “Left Handed.” Pay particular attention to the science documentation cited in the first paragraph where social stigmatizing is stated since ancient prehistoric times- The terms “sinister” and “devil” have ostracized left-handedness for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years- Then read carefully under the “Causes” paragraph >

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-handedness

Bethany- It is fine that you love your boyfriend and that you determine his intelligence as God given but this is not putting any points onto your education degree resume'. Also, personal Christian beliefs do not score well for public education qualifications. Are you planning to teach only in Christian schools in Kansas where the word “evolution” has been outlawed from that state?

Incidentally we were raised in a beautiful home as our parents were very liberal German Catholics- we were never made to be felt threatened in any way as children. Our parents were great teachers of art and science. All of our school mates loved coming to our home as they expressed how much they looked up to our parents as fun and entertaining; much more than their own parents.

markscosmiclight said...

Anonymous- This is not a discussion about emotions or your misunderstanding of what an IT Technician is. Are you aware that Einstein’s early job as a patent investigator would be defined today as an IT Technician? I only used the term IT Technician as a general expression of the nature of the work of my early career since age 19. I went on in my middle twenties through my early thirties to supervise in one of the largest computer centers on the west coast in handling confidential and sensitive information and data storage technology [this was an intense job of training many new technicians in a large micrographics data storage technology lab], then to design and build my own home for my family, I also designed all of the landscape architecture; later becoming an astronomy teacher in a Christian university, then achieving award winning status as producing astronomy technical art as displayed in NASA web sites and other online venues that I have been duly awarded and commended for in recent years. I was winning art awards when I was in early elementary school years. I was given early special art projects as the class artist in middle grade school years, setting a great example to other students as our farther was an art major in the Portland Art Museum School; our mother wanted to become a Catholic nun just before meeting our father. As the eldest of three siblings, we were all proficient in the arts and sciences and all near Honor Roll status through all grades in school. I was the only one of the three siblings that went on to art school in my early college years, excelling already in highly technically achieved art in my high school years.

This discussion regarding stuttering in left-handers is but a small tip of the iceberg of but only one small symptom of what left handed people suffer under the bigotry of the Christian Religious Fundamentalist Right inflicted onto the world. Let me make this clearer for you- I am not a liberal atheist. I am a concerned grandparent living now in early semi-retirement. I am sorry to say that the universities of academia throughout the world would deem some of the comments above as severely flawed and indeed without any scientific sentiment employed or involved medical and factual studies sighted at all.

This discussion should involve the scientific medical facts that are known causes and effects as categorically and factually documented concerning left handedness. I would suggest that many of you start with the Wikipedia Chapter on “Left Handed.” Pay particular attention to the science documentation cited in the first paragraph where social stigmatizing is stated since ancient prehistoric times- The terms “sinister” and “devil” have ostracized left-handedness for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years- Then read carefully under the “Causes” paragraph >

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-handedness

Bethany- It is fine that you love your boyfriend and that you determine his intelligence as God given but this is not putting any points onto your education degree resume'. Also, personal Christian beliefs do not score well for public education qualifications. Are you planning to teach only in Christian schools in Kansas where the word “evolution” has been outlawed from that state?

Incidentally we were raised in a beautiful home as our parents were very liberal German Catholics- we were never made to be felt threatened in any way as children. Our parents were great teachers of art and science. All of our school mates loved coming to our home as they expressed how much they looked up to our parents as fun and entertaining; much more than their own parents.

Unknown said...

I'm a born left handed but my mom always beat my left hand when I use it and FORCIBLY TEACH ME to use my right hand. I always cry when she shouts at me to stop using my left hand.

Anonymous said...

I think there is a link between switching from left to right hand, and stuttering, but I think that it takes a "trigger" to set off the stuttering.

I was naturally left handed, but had it beaten out of me in school (age 4-5 on). All was fairly normal until, age 12, I had 4 teeth extracted under a general anesthetic. The very minute they woke me from the operation I could not talk, and suffered from stuttering for the subsequent 20 years (like many stutterers I now have it under control). I think forcibly switching from left to right hand sets the scene for stuttering - a traumatic event can then set it off.

Just my opinion, but I have had 30+ years to try to analyze the sequence of events.

RF

tg said...

We are not right or left handed but I believe right or left tongued. That organization is spread distally throughout the body as we learn to move. I have always been severely right handed and though I could feel the left side of my tongue I do not feel the motor side existed independently of the right.

http://mylefttongue.blogspot.com/2012/04/my-left-tongue.html

Anonymous said...

If you truly understand lateralization of the hemispheres of the brain, the link between restraining the left hand and stuttering is obvious http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22332811