Experiments in Dexterity

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Dioptimus Drime

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Experiments in Dexterity
« on: April 14, 2007, 06:25:47 PM »
So, for some strange reason, today I was in a fiddling type of mindset, and I was thinking about psychology and subconscious and brain activity and things of the like. One thing that came into my head was dexterity--lefthandedness or righthandedness, and what causes it, and if it can be manipulated. So, basically, what I'm proposing is an experiment. I haven't gotten the basis of everything worked out yet, but basically, for a set amount of days, I will perform tasks ordinarily done with my right hand with my left and vice versa, and see if I can manipulate my brain and become ambidextrous at least to an extent, or if I absolutely fail and can conclude that righthandedness is hardcoded into my brain.

Scientifically, I'd like to run this test on a few subjects (myself included) just to see what the results are. Would anybody be willing to try reversing hands on specifically noted tasks?

I also plan on taking notes of when I forget to use my left hand on one of the tasks (because some tasks may be sort of "hypnotic"--as in I don't even think about them while doing them), just to see if there's any differentiating on what I subconsciously do with my right hand without even thinking about it and what things I might actively think about whenever I'm doing them (thus not forgetting to reverse it).

Some tasks I have lined up which will be reversed:
-Shoe-tying (I usually tie my shoes in a specific direction obviously, but I will be tying them the opposite way).
-Opening door handles/knobs.
-Dialing a telephone number.
-Brushing teeth.
-Combing hair.
-Operating a Remote Control.
-Using silverware (reversing how I usually have my silverware).

I might tack more onto the list (suggestions are welcome).
My personal hypothesis is that I will be able to progressively get more comfortable with performing these tasks lefthanded, that opening doors with my left hand I will fail to remember the most, and that shoe-tying will be the most difficult.

So, does anyone else want to join in with the experiment? I'll set a time to start and stop after others have voiced their opinion in this thread. If no one else joins, I plan on doing it anyways, I just want to see if I can get some varied results, hopefully from different demographics if possible, to see if such a conversion is more or less likely from person to person or whether we all succeed/fail equally.

~D-Draw

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Colonel Gaydafi

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Re: Experiments in Dexterity
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2007, 06:30:23 PM »
I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous...


Ok now I made the stupid joke this actually sounds interesting. I might give it a go.
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BOGWarrior89

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Re: Experiments in Dexterity
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2007, 09:39:59 PM »
DiegoDraw, I don't know if this helps, but I'm either neither left-handed nor right-handed, or I'm both.  I use my right hand to eat and write and other non-physical activities, but I'm left-handed when it comes to sports.

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Dioptimus Drime

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Re: Experiments in Dexterity
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2007, 09:48:20 PM »
Yeah, ambidexterity is one of the things that actually really interests me, mostly because it's unusual, and I wonder if it's possible to manipulate your brain into being ambidextrous, and I wonder if it happens that ambidextrous people were not born as so (I've heard of ambidextrous people becoming left- or right-handed and I've heard of left- or right-handed people becoming ambidextrous). It seems like some sort of brain activity dictates it--obviously subconsciously, but I wonder how easily manipulated that part of the brain is.

~D-Draw

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Midnight

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Re: Experiments in Dexterity
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2007, 01:30:44 AM »
I have ambidexterity, and yes, it can be used in brain matters.
My problem with his ideas is that it is a ridiculous thing.

Genius. PURE, undiluted genius.

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EvilToothpaste

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Re: Experiments in Dexterity
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2007, 02:22:20 AM »
I used to play ping-pong and badminton so much I got bored and started using my left hand.  After a week or so of terrible missed shots I got rather good. 

I never did anything with my left hand before that.  And I don't really do anything with it now (that I don't also do with my right). 

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Demosthenes

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Re: Experiments in Dexterity
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2007, 07:14:00 AM »
It's mostly a form of "genetic memory" that makes you left or right handed (in my POV). A long time ago, a few religions decided that the left hand was the hand of evil and you weren't allowed to use it. They would strap your left hand to your desk or belt loop so that you couldn't use it, so some people became right handed or ambidexterrius (I suck at spelling today)

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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: Experiments in Dexterity
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2007, 07:28:32 AM »
Sounds good, no doubt i'll forget/ egt bored of it, lol

Re: Experiments in Dexterity
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2007, 03:10:48 PM »
It might to an extent be possible to manipulate.  My father growing up in rural quebec in the 40s was left handed, but his school teacher punished him until he would write with his right hand.  To this day he can only write with his right hand, although all other task he performs with his left.

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Dioptimus Drime

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Re: Experiments in Dexterity
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2007, 04:23:54 PM »
Okay, so personally, I am starting this experiment on Sunday (two days from now) when I wake up. From that time on, I will be doing the following only with my left hand (in most cases). All these things are things I previously have done with my right hand.
-Brushing Teeth.
-Combing Hair.
-Operating a Remote Control.
-Opening/Closing Doors/Operating Doorknobs/handles.
-Dialing a Telephone.
-Eating (for foods not requiring silverware).

I will also be "reversing" the following activities (e.g. holding silverware in opposite hands, etcetera), hand-wise.
-Silverware usage.
-Tying shoes.
-Wallet (moving it to the other side of my pants).
-Cellular Phone (moving it to other pocket).

This experiment will run (at first) until the proceeding Sunday. I may choose at that time to extend it if I'm seeing progress. I encourage anyone who wants to try it out to do it at the same time, but if you can't, that's fine, too. I'm making sure all of these things will allow you to still be functionable in order to perform necessary duties for work or school, so it shouldn't get in the way of anything, except perhaps minor inconviniences (which is the fun of it anyways). If you do end up doing it, you aren't required to sign up or anything beforehand, but I'd like to see your results and conclusions, and if you could tell me the following information for comparing results, that'd be great.


Age:
Ethnicity/Ancestry:
Race:
Sex:
Location:
Most Difficult Task To Complete (from the above list:)

Most Easily Forgotten Task:

Least Difficult Task To Complete:

Other Conclusions/Comments/Results:



Thanks,
~D-Draw

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DakaSha

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Re: Experiments in Dexterity
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2007, 05:09:20 PM »
ive heard (but dont know if its true... i could imagine it being true) that switching hands like that can mess you up.

btw i also use both my hands.... i write and eat with my left hand but play guitar, punch ect. with my right

I know the waterfalls shadow is wrong. Eat a dick you fuckin know-it-all :P
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EvilToothpaste

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Re: Experiments in Dexterity
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2007, 12:21:03 AM »
It's kind of interesting.  I will consider it.  For a minute I was thinking ... 'how about typing?'  but that's just silly.  I would be at zero productivity for the entire week.  Actually that sounds pretty good. 

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Dioptimus Drime

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Re: Experiments in Dexterity
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2007, 01:49:25 AM »
It's kind of interesting.  I will consider it.  For a minute I was thinking ... 'how about typing?'  but that's just silly.  I would be at zero productivity for the entire week.  Actually that sounds pretty good. 

Yeah, exactly. I don't want this to limit functionability or halt anyone from doing everyday, necessary tasks, but I'd like to see it being a minor nuissance in someone's life. ;)

~D-Draw

Re: Experiments in Dexterity
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2007, 07:49:56 AM »
I think if you did it for a few weeks you would become as good with your left hand as you are with your right hand in allt he tasks you tried. What would be interesting is, after this, to try totally new tasks that you've never done before and see which hand is best. It might be worth factoring in somwhow the difference in muscular strenght between your right and left hand. It might even be a good idea to spend a few weeks excercising your left shoulder, arm and hand muscles to give them a strenght closer to that of your right side.

It's interesting you said "and vice versa". I assume you are the same as me in that, although I am completely right-handed, there are specific tasks that I do much better with my left hand. For example I use a knife and fork like a left-handed person. I had to teach myself to do this when I was younger because my left hand was rubbish at using a fork and my right hand was rubbish at cutting the food. Or at least both hands became rubbish at said tasks due as soon as I tried to do them at the same time.

Re: Experiments in Dexterity
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2007, 01:07:56 PM »
I'm not very knowledgeable on the subject of ambidexterity, but from what little I understand, Left/Right preference is developed (not learned) at a very early age. What causes the preference is mostly a mystery. Recent assertions have been that the phenomenon of Left/Right handedness is not as simple as "having a preference" for one hand over another, but rather that one hand "leads" activities and the other "follows". Acting as a complementary pair, one hand supports the other.

As for the idea of training oneself to use one hand over the other, I am 99% sure this is possible for most people with some commitment. I'm a lefty, although there are a handful of things I feel more natural doing with my right hand (playing guitar, eating with utensils, controlling the mouse). However, when I was a kid, I noticed that when I played baseball my natural tendency was to throw and catch with my left hand. It was very strange trying to catch with my right hand, but I had to teach myself to do so anyway. After a period of about a month of practice catching right-handed (probably practicing once every two-three days for a couple hours), It felt natural. Learning to drive a stick shift was the same sort of experience... I really wanted to reach over myself and shift with my left hand, but I forced myself to shift right-handed as well. In this case, it also felt totally natural after about a month. So in my experience, it is possible to override the natural tendency of handedness.

Re: Experiments in Dexterity
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2007, 05:22:26 PM »
I would be interested in participating but the problem is that I am left-handed.
Through the course of any 'natural' left handed person's life they need to become ambidextrous.  The entire world is set up for the right handed person- one obvious example is driving a car- and I do not know if my results would be any good.  Now that I think of it there is never a rhyme or reason to what hand I use to open a door etc..

I do everything equally well except write with either hand- for that I use my left.

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Dioptimus Drime

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Re: Experiments in Dexterity
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2007, 05:36:31 PM »
If you want to participate anyways, you could take a few of the things and try "reversing them" from the way that you normally do them and see if you can change them from how you would normally do them.

~D-Draw