Loren Trimble

Line Development Breeder (Maize), Monsanto Company

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Are you left-handed?

Is there any correlation between being left-handed and correctly tying a 'strong' knot?

I have always tied my shoes with a 'strong' knot and am wondering if that is because I am left-handed. I don't necessarily recall, but, it seems to make sense that observing how a right-handed person ties their shoes and trying to do that method left-handed would turn a 'weak' knot into a 'strong knot.

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    May 12 2012: I've had no problems tying my shoes since 6th grade when I stopped trying to do it mimic right-handed and began to mirror the format.

    My biggest left-handed fear is power tools, without my preferred hand control I find them dangerous. I'm not in favor of making left-handed power tools either, I'd be very cautious around a right-hander attempting to use my left-handed tools.
    Most right-handed people have no idea how uncomfortable it is to use a contoured grip made for the wrong hand (until I hand them my left-handed scissors).
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      May 14 2012: It is interesting that you bring up scissors and power tools designed for left-handed people and used by right handed people.

      I often wonder if left-hand dominant people are more skilled with their right hand and than right-hand dominant people are skilled with their left hand.
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        May 14 2012: When I started working with computers (Machintosh) I attempted to set the mouse on the left side, although Macs had a single mouse button that didn't work. The computer wasn't mine and each time I'd come back to it the mouse would be on the right again, there would also rarely be room on the left to work the mouse. I now work my PC with the contoured two button mouse on the right. Left-handers have to learn to use their right hand.

        In grade school, the '60s, we weren't taught to write with our left hand. Everyone had to use their right hand. I'd color with my left but the pencil always had to be in my right. Halfway through 4th grade, when the teacher saw that my penmanship never got any better, I was allowed to use my left hand. I went through the rest of my schooling with graphite and ink smears on the bottom edge of my palm and unable to see what I'd just written.

        My brother is also left-handed and as a carpenter uses power tools all the time, he has to work with right hand set ups all the time. I don' know the extent of what he has to do to compensate.

        I don't think right-handed people recognize how many things are designed for them, left-handers do.
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    May 15 2012: Hi Loren

    I am left-handed. When I was little, my mother told me that she had been left-handed but the nuns who raised her retrained her. For various reasons, my parents tried to retrain me - but I got away with writing with my left-hand.

    Nowadays I have a version of ambidextrous. I divide tasks between left and right hands. Some tasks are better with my right hand, e.g. using a scissors.

    When I taught myself to paint, my daughter was a baby (and I would carry her in the crook of my arm), so I would switch hands and "baby" and could therefore paint with either hand. This was a new skill, learned as an adult and I had no preconceptions as to which hand it should be done with.

    Something you might find interesting though - A few years ago, I twisted my left ankle and it would not heal, in spite of there being nothing "physically" wrong with it. 8 months of testing and therapies only made it worse. I self-diagnosed as RSD and found a mirror therapy (here is an example of how it works http://neurotopian.blogspot.com/2007/11/mirror-box-therapy-part-i.html).

    I would sit, one leg behind a stand up mirror and the good leg in front. I would move them together while looking in the mirror. There is an illusion where the brain thinks they are moving equally well. This made the difference.

    So I was wondering, not that I know about knots, and of course you can't tie a knot with one hand behind a mirror... perhaps if you observe yourself in a mirror tying a knot it can help retrain you knot-tying?

    Leonardo da Vinci had a passion for using reflection and writing backwards!

    i am also fascinated by stories where people have extraordinary abilities to use their feet to draw, paint, etc.
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    May 14 2012: I wonder how left-handedness affects musicians? I mean, I've never seen a left-handed violinist for instance, which presumably means many would-be left-handers are taught to play right-handed. Would that have an effect on intuitive musical skill when they are forced to do the bowing with the right hand and the fingering on the left?

    Being a profound left-hander myself, I would imagine that learning to play the other way round would be counter-intuitive, to the point where the music itself might suffer.
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      May 15 2012: I don't think that the music suffers necessarily, some times the music becomes unique and new in itself. Legend has it that Jimi Hendrix played some songs with a normal guitar left-handed (strings upside down) and therefore making it difficult for anyone to repeat.
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        May 15 2012: I think you are right. Jimi Hendrix was a unique musician - some would say a genius.

        I wonder if his left-handedness was allowed free-rein as a child?

        Some people here have said that they have been retrained at school to be right-handed. That happened to me too.

        Does handedness retraining have an effect on brain hemisphere function and dominance? What would be the effects of that retraining, if it is applied aggressively - as opposed to subliminally?

        Retraining, whatever form it takes, is effectively saying that the right hemisphere is inferior. Given that it seems to be the hemisphere of intuitive thought, how would it affect creativity?
  • May 9 2012: I don't think so.I am also left-handed and have worked in surgery department and the difficult- most job for me was to do suturing(stitching) because of knots :( however, i confess i have never paid any attention to the manner i tie my shoe laces!
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      May 14 2012: Do you knot to the left or right? Do your colleagues say, "Those are Sameen's sutures."?
      • May 19 2012: hi daniel! both ways actually! nope theres nothing distinct about my knots