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Laterality - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128012390, 9780128013571


1st Edition

Exploring the Enigma of Left-Handedness

Author: Clare Porac
Paperback ISBN: 9780128012390
eBook ISBN: 9780128013571
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 22nd December 2015
Page Count: 232
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Left-handedness has been connected to many different conditions, traits, and abilities. This is especially true for pathological syndromes, such as schizophrenia, along with learning disabilities and autism. The published research on handedness is vast and frequently contradictory, often raising more questions than providing answers. Questions such as:

  • Is handedness genetic?
  • Can handedness be changed?
  • Are there consequences to training someone to switch handedness?
  • Are there positive traits associated with left-handedness like creativity?
  • Are there negative traits associated with left-handedness like trouble reading maps?
  • Is it abnormal to do some things right-handed and other things left-handed?
  • Are the brains of left-handers different from the brains of right-handers?

Laterality: Exploring the Enigma of Left-Handedness examines the research conducted over the past 50 years with special emphasis on twenty-first century research on handedness and translates this literature into an accessible and readable form. Each chapter is based on a question or questions covering diverse topics such as genetic and biological origins of handedness, familial and hormonal influences on handedness, and the effects of a majority right-handed world on the behaviors of left-handers.

Key Features

  • Summarizes scientific research on laterality
  • Separates fact from fiction in common beliefs about laterality
  • Includes illustrative interviews with left-handers


Researchers in cognitive psych, neuropsych, motor control

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Everybody’s Right, So What’s Left?

  • Abstract
  • Hand Preference
  • Hand Performance
  • Hand Preference and Performance: Same or Different?
  • Measuring Handedness: Do’s and Don’ts
  • References

Chapter 2. Left in the Genes

  • Abstract
  • One Gene, Two Hands
  • Many Genes, Two Hands
  • What Conclusion is Left?
  • References

Chapter 3. Who’s Left in the Family?

  • Abstract
  • Familial Sinistrality
  • Families and Pathological Left-Handedness
  • What’s Left to the Parents?
  • References

Chapter 4. Left-Handers and the Right Mind

  • Abstract
  • Right Brain, Left Brain, and Handedness
  • Thinking Left and Right
  • Handwriting Postures and the Hemispheres
  • Right Brain, Left Brain
  • References

Chapter 5. Left with Raging Hormones

  • Abstract
  • Men to the Left, Women to the Right
  • Left-Handedness and Sexual Orientation
  • Left for All Seasons
  • References

Chapter 6. Left to Die

  • Abstract
  • Why Left-Handedness and Early Death?
  • Challenging Elimination
  • Handedness Modification
  • Eliminating Elimination
  • References

Chapter 7. Left in a Right-Handed World

  • Abstract
  • Left-Handers Become Right-Handers
  • Left-Handedness: Dangerous or Just Different?
  • References

Chapter 8. Geography, History, and the Left Hand

  • Abstract
  • Touring the World with Left-Hand Turns
  • Left-Handed Ups and Downs Through History
  • References

Chapter 9. Disorders, Diseases, and Life on the Left

  • Abstract
  • Left-Handedness and Disorders of the Mind
  • Is Left-handedness a Marker for Poor Health?
  • A New Approach to Left-Handedness and Pathology
  • References

Chapter 10. Life on the Left: Not Bad After All

  • Abstract
  • Is There a Left-Handed Personality Type?
  • Left-Handedness, Ability, and Career Choice
  • Left in the Sporting Life
  • References

Chapter 11. More Than a Left Hand

  • Abstract
  • Footedness: The Other Limb Lateral Preference
  • Eyedness: The Problem of Two Eyes
  • Earedness: The Almost Forgotten Lateral Preference
  • The Lateral Preference Line-up
  • References

Chapter 12. Leftovers

  • Abstract
  • Hand Clasping and Arm Folding
  • Leg Crossing
  • Latent Leftness
  • Human Ancestors, Left and Right
  • One Thought Left
  • References


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2016
22nd December 2015
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Clare Porac

Clare Porac

Clare Porac received her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Duquesne University and her MA and PhD degrees in psychology from the New School for Social Research. From 1974 to 1999 she was a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. In 1999, she returned to the United States and assumed the positions of Professor of Psychology and Director of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Penn State Erie. In 2005-2006 she spent a sabbatical as the visiting Senior Scientist in the Science Directorate of the American Psychological Association. She returned to the American Psychological Association from 2007-2009 and served as the Associate Executive Director for Graduate and Postgraduate Education in the Education Directorate. Her current position is Professor of Psychology at Penn State Erie. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (Divisions 1 and 3), the Canadian Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science and the Eastern Psychological Association. She served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Psychological Association and is currently serving a term on the Executive Committee of Division 3 (Experimental Psychology) of the American Psychological Association and on the APA Council of Representatives as a member representing Division 1 (Society for General Psychology). She is also a member of the Psychonomic Society.

Clare Porac was a co-author on the first two editions of the textbook, Sensation and Perception. However, it was her lead authorship on the book, Lateral Preferences and Human Behavior that established her international reputation as a researcher in the field of human lateral preferences including handedness. She has authored or coauthored 63 research articles and has presented 66 conference papers on her human laterality research; she has an additional 55 publications and 50 conference papers on other topics. In Canada, she received grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the University of Victoria and the Dorothy and David Lam Endowment to support her work. In the United States, her research is supported by funds from Penn State University. She currently serves on the editorial boards of two of the major journals dealing with human laterality, Laterality and Brain and Cognition.

Clare Porac has lectured on human lateral preferences at universities in the United States, Canada, the UK and New Zealand. She has given media interviews that have appeared in Canadian outlets such as The Edmonton Journal, The Calgary Sun, and The Globe and Mail. In the United States, interviews have appeared in USA Today, Toledo Blade and The Detroit News and also on National Public Radio.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, Erie, Pennsylvania, USA


" an academic text it offers a great introduction to handedness research. This would make it a good resource for an upper-level undergraduate/postgraduate student seeking to efficiently acquaint themselves with the world of handedness." --Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition

"Whether you are left- or mixed-handed, or simply want to know how non-conforming laterality relates to a wide range of psychological factors, you will likely find a host of interesting research presented in this book." --PsycCRITIQUES

"Laterality: Exploring the Enigma of Left-Handedness is divided into 12 chapters, covering … the roles of genetics and hormones in handedness, to early death and psychological disorder in left-handers. At the end of each chapter, Porac presents a clear take-away summary of the chapter’s key findings, helpfully distinguishing fact from fiction…Porac set out to translate laterality research into an accessible and readable form, and…she’s accomplished this goal….As an academic text it offers a great introduction to handedness research. This would make it a good resource for an upper-level undergraduate/postgraduate student seeking to efficiently acquaint themselves with the world of handedness." --Annukka K. Lindell

Ratings and Reviews