Handed ness and Language

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What's your 'handedness' and with which ear did you hear the words more clearly?

Right Handed, heard the words in my Right Ear
4
31%
Right Handed, heard the words in my Left Ear
4
31%
Right Handed, couldn't make out words from either Ear
2
15%
Left Handed, heard the words in my Left Ear
0
No votes
Left Handed, heard the words in my Right Ear
1
8%
Left Handed, couldn't make out words from either Ear
0
No votes
No specific Handedness, heard the words in my Right Ear
0
No votes
No specific Handedness, heard the words in my Left Ear
0
No votes
No specific Handedness, couldn't make out words from either Ear
0
No votes
Eh, speak up?
2
15%
 
Total votes: 13

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Gfamily
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Handed ness and Language

Post by Gfamily » Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:42 am

I finally caught up with the always excellent The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry episode #2 on Left and Right handedness from 16th February.

It has a section that needs to be listened through with headphones, which aims to determine which half of the brain has the dominant language centre.
It's just after 15 minutes through this podcast
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000s9vg

I'd be interested to know whether you heard the left-ear words or the right-ear words and how that compares to your 'preferred' hand.

It's science!
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by sTeamTraen » Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:54 pm

I'm extremely right-handed. I heard both words clearly in each case. There doesn't seem to be a poll option for that. Can I get paid lots of money to take part in advanced studies of my apparently stereophonic brain?
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Lew Dolby » Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:13 pm

Same for me except on first listening when it took the first two words for my brain to recognise it was getting different words in each ear. After that, I was quite clearly hearing both.

I am , though, getting quite deaf and have to concentrate quite hard when being spoken to.

ETA and right-handed (except for obvious left-handed tasks like changing gear in a UK vehicle).
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Gfamily » Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:17 pm

sTeamTraen wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:54 pm
I'm extremely right-handed. I heard both words clearly in each case. There doesn't seem to be a poll option for that. Can I get paid lots of money to take part in advanced studies of my apparently stereophonic brain?
Noted.
If anyone else can interpret both words simultaneously (and is happy to let us know), let us know in the thread and we can add that ability to the final analysis.
My avatar was a scientific result that was later found to be 'mistaken' - I rarely claim to be 100% correct
ETA 5/8/20: I've been advised that the result was correct, it was the initial interpretation that needed to be withdrawn
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Gfamily » Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:28 pm

Lew Dolby wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:13 pm
Same for me except on first listening when it took the first two words for my brain to recognise it was getting different words in each ear. After that, I was quite clearly hearing both.

I am , though, getting quite deaf and have to concentrate quite hard when being spoken to.

ETA and right-handed (except for obvious left-handed tasks like changing gear in a UK vehicle).
Did you have equal understanding of the words from each ear in the first hearing? - though I appreciate there may be differences in hearing acuity.
My avatar was a scientific result that was later found to be 'mistaken' - I rarely claim to be 100% correct
ETA 5/8/20: I've been advised that the result was correct, it was the initial interpretation that needed to be withdrawn
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by basementer » Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:41 pm

sTeamTraen wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:54 pm
I'm extremely right-handed. I heard both words clearly in each case. There doesn't seem to be a poll option for that. Can I get paid lots of money to take part in advanced studies of my apparently stereophonic brain?
Same here. Heard them with equal clarity, but realised I couldn't memorise both streams simultaneously.
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by jaap » Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:10 am

basementer wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:41 pm
sTeamTraen wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:54 pm
I'm extremely right-handed. I heard both words clearly in each case. There doesn't seem to be a poll option for that. Can I get paid lots of money to take part in advanced studies of my apparently stereophonic brain?
Same here. Heard them with equal clarity, but realised I couldn't memorise both streams simultaneously.
Same. It did seem to me like the two voices had a slightly different tonal quality, the right voice being a bit richer as if it was closer to the mic.
(right handed)

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by shpalman » Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:28 am

I could hear that there were words in both ears, with concentration I can choose which side to focus on. Leftie.
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by lpm » Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:20 am

shpalman wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:28 am
I could hear that there were words in both ears, with concentration I can choose which side to focus on. Leftie.
Same, could listen to which ever I wanted. Right handed.
jaap wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:10 am
It did seem to me like the two voices had a slightly different tonal quality, the right voice being a bit richer as if it was closer to the mic.
(right handed)
Yes, but I felt the left voice was a bit richer.
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by lpm » Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:25 am

I bet kids today are f.cking up this experiment.

They wear headphones far more than we do and will be much more used to listening in stereo. I suspect their brains will handle the two separate streams pretty easily, just from practice.

Back in our day even stereo wasn't much of a thing - a couple of speakers a bit apart - and we listened to a lot of mono music when we taped the Top 40 off the radio. There were Walkmans, or is it Walkmen, I suppose. But we didn't spend hours a day with earpods in.
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by bagpuss » Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:35 am

I could hear both words equally clearly. Will listen again to see if I can detect any difference at all but on first 2 listens I didn't notice anything.

I'm a real mix of handedness - I write left-handed but can write to the level of a reasonably neat 6ish year old with my right hand; I mouse right-handed; I favour my right hand in racquet sports as that arm is stronger but back when I actually played would switch to my left when my right arm got tired; I chop left-handed but use a small knife in my hand (rather than on a board) in my right; I sew, knit & crochet right-handed because I was taught by a right-hander; I clean my teeth with my left; I pick up a mug with either my free-est hand or the hand nearer the mug; many many things I will do pretty much equally and I absolutely hate being asked which handed I am when I do something new as I don't have a sodding clue which one it's going to be for that activity until I try (turns out I'm right handed for archery, for example, but had to try both to be sure).

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by bagpuss » Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:39 am

bagpuss wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:35 am
I could hear both words equally clearly. Will listen again to see if I can detect any difference at all but on first 2 listens I didn't notice anything.

I'm a real mix of handedness - I write left-handed but can write to the level of a reasonably neat 6ish year old with my right hand; I mouse right-handed; I favour my right hand in racquet sports as that arm is stronger but back when I actually played would switch to my left when my right arm got tired; I chop left-handed but use a small knife in my hand (rather than on a board) in my right; I sew, knit & crochet right-handed because I was taught by a right-hander; I clean my teeth with my left; I pick up a mug with either my free-est hand or the hand nearer the mug; many many things I will do pretty much equally and I absolutely hate being asked which handed I am when I do something new as I don't have a sodding clue which one it's going to be for that activity until I try (turns out I'm right handed for archery, for example, but had to try both to be sure).
I listened again and noticed that for all the words there was one which seemed to dominate but it varied as to which ear it was in - so I suspect it's more to do with the word or the enunciation for those particular words rather than which ear they were in. That said, I think there was a very slight dominance of the right ear - so slight that I really can't be sure, though.

Edit: and then I had a thought and listened yet again, noting down which one seemed to start first, as they're not quite in sync. And every time, the one that slightly dominated was the one that started distinctly second, so it seems that my brain is just switching to the most recently heard word. Mostly it's the left ear one that starts first, hence the slight tendency towards the right ear. The last one where there seemed to be little difference in timing was one where it was pretty much equal.

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by lpm » Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:49 am

It might be that we are getting old and it's an early hint of which ear our hearing will get less sharp.
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by shpalman » Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:51 am

bagpuss wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:39 am
bagpuss wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:35 am
I could hear both words equally clearly. Will listen again to see if I can detect any difference at all but on first 2 listens I didn't notice anything.

I'm a real mix of handedness - I write left-handed but can write to the level of a reasonably neat 6ish year old with my right hand; I mouse right-handed; I favour my right hand in racquet sports as that arm is stronger but back when I actually played would switch to my left when my right arm got tired; I chop left-handed but use a small knife in my hand (rather than on a board) in my right; I sew, knit & crochet right-handed because I was taught by a right-hander; I clean my teeth with my left; I pick up a mug with either my free-est hand or the hand nearer the mug; many many things I will do pretty much equally and I absolutely hate being asked which handed I am when I do something new as I don't have a sodding clue which one it's going to be for that activity until I try (turns out I'm right handed for archery, for example, but had to try both to be sure).
I listened again and noticed that for all the words there was one which seemed to dominate but it varied as to which ear it was in - so I suspect it's more to do with the word or the enunciation for those particular words rather than which ear they were in. That said, I think there was a very slight dominance of the right ear - so slight that I really can't be sure, though.

Edit: and then I had a thought and listened yet again, noting down which one seemed to start first, as they're not quite in sync. And every time, the one that slightly dominated was the one that started distinctly second, so it seems that my brain is just switching to the most recently heard word. Mostly it's the left ear one that starts first, hence the slight tendency towards the right ear. The last one where there seemed to be little difference in timing was one where it was pretty much equal.
I maybe felt a little bit like my attention was captured by whichever word had the most obvious consonants.
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Martin_B » Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:17 am

I'm a bit like sTeamTraen; predominantly right-handed, but heard the words about as well in each ear.

That said, while I'm right-handed for most things, I used to play badminton with either hand (although that was a skill I taught myself) and find I usually pick up drinks with my left hand
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Martin Y » Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:22 am

lpm wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:25 am
I bet kids today are f.cking up this experiment.

They wear headphones far more than we do and will be much more used to listening in stereo. I suspect their brains will handle the two separate streams pretty easily, just from practice.

Back in our day even stereo wasn't much of a thing - a couple of speakers a bit apart - and we listened to a lot of mono music when we taped the Top 40 off the radio. There were Walkmans, or is it Walkmen, I suppose. But we didn't spend hours a day with earpods in.
I'd be surprised if so. I can't immediately think of any stereo material that gives different speech in each ear to train yourself on. It seems like a very different task from just listening to music with each instrument directed more to one ear or the other.

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Chris Preston » Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:25 am

I am a good part deaf in my right ear. Result of a childhood disease.

So I have just biased your experiment.
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by lpm » Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:37 am

Martin Y wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:22 am
lpm wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:25 am
I bet kids today are f.cking up this experiment.

They wear headphones far more than we do and will be much more used to listening in stereo. I suspect their brains will handle the two separate streams pretty easily, just from practice.

Back in our day even stereo wasn't much of a thing - a couple of speakers a bit apart - and we listened to a lot of mono music when we taped the Top 40 off the radio. There were Walkmans, or is it Walkmen, I suppose. But we didn't spend hours a day with earpods in.
I'd be surprised if so. I can't immediately think of any stereo material that gives different speech in each ear to train yourself on. It seems like a very different task from just listening to music with each instrument directed more to one ear or the other.
Why is speech different to music?

We don't really use separate ears in the natural world, just as a direction finder. Same as two eyes gives instinctive depth perception. We just never hear something with only one ear.

Stereo in music is something different - a deliberate separating out of two streams to create a unusual experience. This is the only time a human will hear, say, a bass only in the right ear and piano in the left. Why wouldn't this train us up in listening to two separate components simultaneously? Speech is also rhythm and pitch.
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Gfamily » Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:04 pm

lpm wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:37 am
Why is speech different to music?
The issue isn't whether you can hear better in one ear rather than the other, the issue is whether there is a difference in the Broca's area, where language is interpreted.
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by monkey » Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:32 pm

lpm wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:37 am
We don't really use separate ears in the natural world, just as a direction finder. Same as two eyes gives instinctive depth perception. We just never hear something with only one ear.
You probably have a dominant eye and a dominant ear. Just about everyone does. IRC for eyes there is a correlation between dominant eye and handedness, but it's not strong enough to be a useful predictor.

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by lpm » Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:46 pm

Gfamily wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:04 pm
lpm wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:37 am
Why is speech different to music?
The issue isn't whether you can hear better in one ear rather than the other, the issue is whether there is a difference in the Broca's area, where language is interpreted.
But isn't music also interpreted?

Often it's background, but sometimes you really listen and attempt to interpret the meaning of the composer.
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Gfamily » Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:09 pm

lpm wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:46 pm
Gfamily wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:04 pm
lpm wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:37 am
Why is speech different to music?
The issue isn't whether you can hear better in one ear rather than the other, the issue is whether there is a difference in the Broca's area, where language is interpreted.
But isn't music also interpreted?

Often it's background, but sometimes you really listen and attempt to interpret the meaning of the composer.
If music is interpreted in the Broca's area* this might be relevant, but that is beyond the remit of this poll.

* I've not seen any suggestion that this is the case.
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by lpm » Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:21 pm

Well that would imply there's a hard line between music and speech. If speaking with a musical lilt is interpreted in Broca's area but singing in a speaky way isn't, that would be remarkable. A one-year old is driven to interpret all sounds she hears, converting them into meaning, and love to hear nursery rhymes sung over and over again. Is this Broca's area developing? Or are the musical elements off somewhere separate?
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by monkey » Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:38 pm

Gfamily wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:09 pm
lpm wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:46 pm
Gfamily wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:04 pm


The issue isn't whether you can hear better in one ear rather than the other, the issue is whether there is a difference in the Broca's area, where language is interpreted.
But isn't music also interpreted?

Often it's background, but sometimes you really listen and attempt to interpret the meaning of the composer.
If music is interpreted in the Broca's area* this might be relevant, but that is beyond the remit of this poll.

* I've not seen any suggestion that this is the case.
Music and Language Syntax Interact in Broca’s Area: An fMRI Study

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Boustrophedon » Mon Apr 19, 2021 2:40 pm

Interesting, I had to be careful to relax and not concentrate on just one ear, I could easily choose which ear to listen with, but it took care not to do that, to hear both at once.

I much prefer to use a phone with my right ear though, probably just habit.

I am functionally ambidextrous by training*, I can write left handed but it's slow and messy, I am sure that within a week I could write fluently left handed if I had to. There are some tasks that I can only do left handed, it depends on which hand I initially taught. For instance I found driving a left hand drive car stressful, having to change gear with my right hand.

*I taught woodwork and metalwork, I used to demonstrate left handedly just to show the left handers what it looked like, but also to appreciate how it felt to use say a tenon saw for the first time. Except of course after a few years it stopped feeling any different.
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