The Left-Hander Syndrome; The Causes and Consequences of Left-Handedness

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If you are among the 10 percent of people who happen to be left-handed, you've had to endure such derisive terms as "gauche" and "a left-handed compliment." At school you may have been forced to write with your right hand. And in another century your proclivity might have gotten you accused of witchcraft.

Any left-handed person, or the spouse, parent, or friend of one, will be captivated by this essential and eye-opening book. With bracing wit ...

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If you are among the 10 percent of people who happen to be left-handed, you've had to endure such derisive terms as "gauche" and "a left-handed compliment." At school you may have been forced to write with your right hand. And in another century your proclivity might have gotten you accused of witchcraft.

Any left-handed person, or the spouse, parent, or friend of one, will be captivated by this essential and eye-opening book. With bracing wit and a flawless command of current research, psychologist Stanley Coren answers such questions as:

Is left-handedness acquired genetically or socially?

Are southpaws more creative than their right-handed fellows?

Why do left-handers seem to die younger than right-handers?

What can left-handers do to counteract the perils and prejudices that confront them in a world that leans to the right?

With bracing wit, Coren uses current research to answer questions about left-handedness. Is it acquired genetically or socially? Are southpaws more creative? Why do they seem to die younger than right-handers? Coren also includes tips on how to make a left-hander's life easier.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A rich account of the history, anthropology and neurobiology of handedness." — Los Angeles Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An interesting but confusing exegesis, this book is full of bad news for southpaws, who will find that they are more prone to a diversity of ailments. (July)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679744689
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1993
  • Edition description: 1st Vintage Books ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 317
  • Sales rank: 806,447
  • Product dimensions: 5.23 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 5, 2009

    A "lefties" AP Psychology assignment

    In The Left-Hander Syndrome, author Stanley Coren delves into the world of the left-hander, discussing nearly everything that has to do with this trait that 10% of the world possesses. From common folklore, incriminating language and the hazardous life that the left hander faces in a right-handed world, to evolution, birth defects, and whether or not southpaws die younger, Coren manages to show how left-handers are really different from the other 90% of the population. Left-handers will certainly be intrigued, reading some things that only they knew all along and learning some quite upsetting information about what their future holds in store. Right-handers who probably rarely even consider handedness can learn just what life is like for the people who are forced to consider handedness all of the time.

    Readers are given a helpful quiz to determine not only their handedness, but also how strongly handed they are, their footedness, eyedness, and earredness as well. Sidedness is explained well by Coren, as he compares it to commonly played sports. Coren continues to be helpful later on within the book, telling right-handers exactly how different it is to be living in their world for the left-handed people among them. This includes simple pictures of commonly used household objects that were clearly designed by a right-hander, and the difficulty of using various schools supplies like rulers and spiral notebooks. Coren finishes up the book by giving an "action plan for left-handers," (p. 275), explaining that left-handers need to stand up for themselves in this tipsy-topsy right-handed world.

    Much of Coren's facts about the left-handers of the world are backed by facts from his own studies or from those of others, so he teaches a lot more than other books that simply list famous southpaws and reassure their audience that they are in fact more creative than everyone else. The book repeats itself quite a few times; by the time they finish the book the reader will certainly know, if they are left-handed, that they are in fact doomed at a life of misfortune and misunderstanding, as they have been told so by Coren countless times. The author tries to spice up his scientific studies with pieces of humor thrown in, but its only use is really diminishing the facts that Coren is presenting. (Yes, we knew that multiple births did not mean that a person was born more than once!). The action-plan may not be necessary, seeing as he isn't even a left-hander himself so he can't truly understand the viewpoint of one, but it does add to the readers understanding of what Coren himself believes.

    When many wonder about left-handers and the difference that occur between them and the other 90% of the population, most people jump straight to wondering about the two sides of the brain. Coren discusses each side, and also reveals the answer as to whether or not people use the side of the brain opposite to their handedness. The reader will also learn whether or not they are meant to be good at math or good at art, thanks to some surprising statistics of college students.

    Coren's book reassures lefties of what they have known for years, answers questions that many have had for years, and brings up startling facts that many, after reading this book, will certainly remember for years. Coren has managed to create a book definitely has to be read by 10% of the world, and the other 90% will certainly be interested in as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2003

    Just the Facts, Maam

    This is an excellent book-- informative, amusing, and sometimes alarming. It has been much criticized because the author states that left-handed people have more accidents, more illnesses, and shorter lifespans than right handed people. He freely admits that he doesn't know WHY this is so, but that's no reason to say that it ISN'T so. This book is not for people who don't like to face the facts.

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