By Dr. Michael Brandon
Being ambidextrous, that is being able to use both hands with equal mastery, is something many strive for, especially in the world of sports and athletics. Only about 1% of the population is ambidextrous, with right handers dominating the population with about 90% and lefties at about 10%
Most people who believe they are ambidextrous, especially if done through training, is actually ambisinistral. These individuals can do many or most tasks proficiently with both hands, but one side is better than the other, and it may switch from right to left depending on the activity.
With a quick internet search for why to become ambidextrous, it may be surprising to see many studies done showing that there are some notable disadvantages, and there are plenty of professionals who claim its neurologically poor and potentially dangerous to do so.
It's been shown many times that those who are BORN ambidextrous have much higher risk of showing signs of disorders like ADHD, dyslexia, perform lower by academic standards, have poorer emotional control/anger management, increased risk for schizophrenia, and other cognitive/social disorders.
It is believed that these complications may occur due to the way our brains process information. Right or left handed individuals tend to have one side more dominant, and the two halves appear to split “brain duties” more. For example, its believed the right side leads with creativity and the left with language and writing.
Those born ambidextrous appear to share these responsibilities more between their left and right brain. So its thought that information for many tasks have to switch back and forth from the right and left which leaves room for, let's call it a processing error, which could lead to the signs listed above.
The big question here is does training yourself to use both sides of your body with equally cause any of the disadvantages that appear with congenital double handiness? Though some people worry about the possibility of it, there were no studies found that attempted to follow someone's brain patterns through ambidextrous training.
The potential for cognitive symptoms certainly is a reason for concern on this topic, but from what was researched, I see minimal merit in it at this time. Potentially if children went through ambidextrous training we would know more, since their brains develop and adapt monumentally more and faster than adults, but then doing a study this way could be deemed unethical if it did result in neurological/cognitive side effects.
Athletes everywhere from boxers to hockey players learn to use both hands very well at many tasks to improve their game, and I know of a few people who have learned to write exceptionally well with both hands. Is this going to create a problem? I don't think so based off of results I have seen and what I know about the brain, but perhaps Ill be proven wrong once research is pushed more on this topic. But until then, perhaps I'll rebel by making my breakfast left handed only, even if it ends up with my omelet turning into scrambled eggs the first several times.
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