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Q: A few questions about Ambidexterity ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: A few questions about Ambidexterity
Category: Health > Fitness and Nutrition
Asked by: markabe-ga
List Price: $3.00
Posted: 02 Jan 2003 20:59 PST
Expires: 01 Feb 2003 20:59 PST
Question ID: 136832
I was reading in Time’s cover story in June about how Tom Cruise is
ambidextrous, and is learning how to use two weapons at once for the
upcoming film "The Last Samurai".

How do people get to be ambidextrous?

I heard a theory about how left-handed people, as a generalisation,
are smarter than right-handed people. Apparently this is because the
civilised world is made for the right-handed (ever see the Simpsons
episode where Ned Flanders opens a leftorium?), so the left-handed end
up developing their right hands and therefore have a more fully
developed brain. Or something.

Is there anything to this theory?

Are ambidextrous people smarter than non-ambidextrous people?

Are there any exercises that I could do to develop ambidexterity?

Request for Question Clarification by revbrenda1st-ga on 02 Jan 2003 21:35 PST
HI Markabe!

Two questions -- if you've a mind to answer them. First, are you
left-handed? Second, does your question require an answer which helps
you meet an academic goal?

'Sinister' regards
Subject: Re: A few questions about Ambidexterity
Answered By: joseleon-ga on 03 Jan 2003 00:09 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
  I found this question interesting not for the money, but because I'm
ambidexter (or ambidextrous) so I thought it was a nice opportunity to
know more about that. In my case I'm left-handed but my mother forced
me when I was a child to write with the right hand. So I write with
the right hand, I throw things with my left hand and I usually play
football with both legs ;-). I was the first of my class, but I think
this hasn't anything to do with that capability, because my sister was
also the first and she is right handed, I think this is caused by a
combination of genetics and the surrounding environment, but if you
pay some attention, a lot of important people are left handed.

Famouse left-handed people

This doesn't mean they are smarter than the rest, but it's curious ;-)

Let's look the definition of ambidexter:

Ambidexter (

"\Am`bi*dex"ter\, n. 1. A person who uses both hands with equal

Cambridge International Dictionary of English
ambidextrous - adjective: able to use both hands equally well 

And searching over the web I have found very interesting results:

Article "'Ambidextrous People' are Brain-Damaged" taken from the
Münchener Medizinische Wochenschrift

This is an interesting "hypotesis" about ambidextrous:

"When the brain is deprived of oxygen, the dominant cerebral
hemisphere is the most significantly damaged for the very reason that
it must fulfill more of the brain's functions and has consequently a
greater oxygen requirement. Through oxygen deprivation, disturbances
in the naturally dominant cerebral hemisphere are manifest. This means
that a child who suffered such damages switches back and forth between
using the left and right hand and may at first even perform worse with
the dominant hand than with the non-dominant hand while, for example,
drawing or writing. The outside influence of the socio-cultural
environment, namely the "right-handed culture", may have life-long,
detrimental effects on left-handed children, the overwhelming majority
of whom are exposed to environmental attitudes like "Left-handedness
is an aberration" or "We live in a world that is set-up for
right-handers". The process of converting the child can then have
massive detrimental effects that can extend across the child's entire
life. Thus, frequently, the natural development is interrupted.
Namely, the process of cerebral compensation, favoring the hand that
is not dominant, is negatively affected. This is especially evident in
writing. In this way, these children then suffer new damage. The
healing processes initiated (namely, compensation by other regions of
the brain) are then disrupted once again and the slowly convalescing
dominant cerebral hemisphere is damaged anew."


A courious page about ambidexerity, it answers the question about how
people get ambidexter, the answers is by training ;-)

"Ambidexterity is the ability to use both your hands with equal ease
or facility, but if you're armless, it could be your feet! In fact, it
is quite advantageous in certain sports and martial arts to be able to
use both your feet with equal facility. The Greeks encouraged and
tried to promote ambidexterity because it was simply logical in sports
and battle to be adept with both hands instead of one. By combining
the Phoenician style of writing right to left with their own left to
right system, the Greeks created a reading and writing system called
boustrophedon, where the lines ran alternately right-to-left and
left-to-right. With alternating sweeps of the eyes back and forth,
reading was more swift and efficient."

Video Games Develop Ambidextrous Brains

"The New England Journal of Medicine will report tomorrow that
scientists have discovered that children who play video games a
minimum of 20 minutes three times a day develop ambidextrous brains.
Most of us know that video games are one of the most popular forms of
entertainment, especially for children and adolescents. Few of us knew
the developmental benefits children received from such activity."

Games Do Make You Smarter

"For every negative study there are positive studies, highlighting the
potential benefits of video games. A report by the New England Journal
of Medicine in 2001 suggests that video games can help to develop
ambidextrous brains in young children, who are otherwise drawn to
activities controlled by their brain side preference. In this study,
children who played video games a minimum of 20 minutes three times a
day exhibited left and right brain co- operation, implying that they
could be both logical and intuitive rather than one or the other."

Left Handed Frequently asked questions

"What is "Cross Laterality"?

This is a mixture of sidedness, such as left-handed but right-footed
and right-eye, and can cause some co-ordination problems. Crossed
hand/eye dominance can affect performance in some sports, particularly
racquet sports where the field of vision might sometimes be

It can be advantageous in gymnastics, running and netball, because
positioning of the body would be more evenly distributed for better
balance. Young children may appear cross-lateral before they settle on
a particular hand preference. It is important to note that
cross-laterality, left-handedness and undetermined handedness are not
causes of learning difficulties or disabilities, as we are sometimes
led to believe. However they may appear in addition to them. (e.g.
dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADD/ADHD) If a child is having learning
difficulties, it is unlikely to be because they are left-handed or
cross-lateral, so always look further for an underlying cause."


You can find two types of ambidexter people:
-Left-handed forced to use the right hand (like me), and this makes
that person grow with the capability to use both hands in the same
-People with cross-laterality, people which use different parts of the
body for different tasks, such as left-handed but right-footed.

Search Strategy

Ambidextrous brain

ambidextrous makes you smarter

left handed famous people

I hope this answers your question, and don't hesitate to request for
any clarification.


Request for Answer Clarification by markabe-ga on 13 Jan 2003 22:30 PST
To answer your questions:

1. No, I'm right-handed.

2. It's not so much academic. I do remember having read an article in
the Weekend Australian magaine supplement about increasing your
intelligence, and one of their suggestions was to use your
less-dominant hand more to do physical tasks, thus exercising the
corresponding half of the brain.

I just think being ambidextrous would be very useful.

Clarification of Answer by joseleon-ga on 14 Jan 2003 00:04 PST
  You have requested a clarification on an answered question,
revbrenda1st is not able to communicate with you using this way, feel
free to use the comments instead.

markabe-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
I got my questions answered - and check out all those comments! Now
all I have to do is practice...

Subject: Re: A few questions about Ambidexterity
From: pinkfreud-ga on 02 Jan 2003 21:12 PST
Markabe, you ask some of the most interesting questions! I am sorry
that I don't have time to prepare an answer, but I thought you might
enjoy these links on ambidexterity:

And here you'll find a bit about lefties' higher intelligence:
Subject: Re: A few questions about Ambidexterity
From: unstable-ga on 02 Jan 2003 21:56 PST
Hi Markabe,
I am ambidextrous --- I am just as bad with both hands 8-)

Regards to whether ambis have the better deal, stop dreaming, its all
up to you, your genes determine a certain capacity but its up to you
and folks around you (and environment etc etc.) that ultimately
affects your capability.

ambidexterity can be trained, with enough practice you can draw a
circle using your left hand whilst drawing a square using your right. 
Play the piano, this forces you to use both hands differently.  If it
helps, heck go and play the drums, you learn to use both sets of hands
and legs!

have fun and a happy new year!
Subject: Re: A few questions about Ambidexterity
From: sublime1-ga on 02 Jan 2003 22:12 PST
I once had a girlfriend who could simultaneously write
the same sentence with both hands. The left-hand sentence
was a mirror image of the right-hand sentence, meaning
written right-to-left, reversed, and with the slant
to the left, while the right hand slanted to the right.
siht ekil | like this

Someone once said:
"If the right-brain controls the left side, and the
left-brain controls the right side, then only 
left-handed people are in their right minds."  : )
Subject: Re: A few questions about Ambidexterity
From: flajason-ga on 03 Jan 2003 13:14 PST
I'd give my right arm to be ambidexterous :)

I have to give some praise to joseleon for introducing me to the idea
of being cross lateral.
Primarily, I am right handed. Although I have a higher degree of
dexterity in my left hand, primarily from playing guitar and piano. I
play baseball, golf, and tennis with equal ease from both sides, so I
have always considered myself somewhat ambidexterous. However, my
writing ability is lacking in the legibility department from my other
hand. So I have resigned myself to being a lowly cross lateral.

Regarding the mirror writing with both hands, that is easy. Our hands
naturally tend to mirror each other. What's tricky is to write two
sentences both in the same direction.

Now for the $64 dollar question... can you pat your head and rub your
belly while at the same time chew bubble gum and whistle the Battle
Hymn of the Rupublic?

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