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Lateral preference profiles and right shift attempt histories of consistent and inconsistent left-handers

Brain and Cognition
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0278-2626(03)00053-8
  • Left-Handedness
  • Lateral Preferences
  • Right Shift Attempts
  • Consistent/Inconsistent Left-Handers


Abstract Differences in abilities and preferences exist between left-handers who both write and throw with their left hands ( consistent left-handers) and those who write with their left hand but prefer to throw with their right ( inconsistent left-handers). It is also known that many left-handers are pressured to switch to right-hand writing, and that these pressures can lead to a right shift attempt. The present study is the first to explore the joint effects of the consistent/inconsistent left-handedness dichotomy, right shift attempt history, and lateral preference profiles. Testing 379 Canadian adults between the ages of 18 and 94 indicated that, while both types of left-handers were equally likely to experience a right shift attempt, the inconsistent left-handers were more likely to successfully switch to right-hand writing. Further analyses revealed that throwing hand was more associated than writing hand with the direction of sidedness for a lateral preference index based upon eye, foot, and ear preferences. More specifically, right-hand throwers were much more likely to have a rightward lateral preference score than were left-hand throwers, regardless of current preferred writing hand. Overall, the results support an hypothesis that the left-handers who are least likely to submit to rightward switch pressures are those with the strongest, most consistent left-sided lateral preference profile.

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