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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Tessa K
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Tessa K » Mon Apr 19, 2021 2:53 pm

Right handed. I could hear both although the left sounded slightly louder (possibly age-related). I was using in-ear phones rather than headphones, does that make a difference?

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by monkey » Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:18 pm

Boustrophedon wrote:
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.
The habit might have formed because your right ear is dominant (or your right hand is dominant for the task of picking up of phones and using your right hand and left ear would be weird).

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by monkey » Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:22 pm

Tessa K wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 2:53 pm
Right handed. I could hear both although the left sounded slightly louder (possibly age-related). I was using in-ear phones rather than headphones, does that make a difference?
They might not fit your earholes the same, so possibly? When I use my in ear ones, the right hand side is more likely to fall out.

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by jaap » Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:34 pm

monkey wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:18 pm
Boustrophedon wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 2:40 pm
I much prefer to use a phone with my right ear though, probably just habit.
The habit might have formed because your right ear is dominant (or your right hand is dominant for the task of picking up of phones and using your right hand and left ear would be weird).
For me at least that hypothesis fails. I'm very right-handed, but almost always hold the phone in my left hand to my left ear. I would dial with the fingers of my right hand of course. So here's an alternative hypothesis: The (non-dominant) left hand is for holding something steady, e.g. a cooking pot, while the (dominant) right hand does the fine control, e.g. stirring the food.

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Gfamily » Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:41 pm

monkey wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:38 pm
Gfamily wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:09 pm
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
Thanks - as ever, the quickest way to get some information is to post on the internet that "the information simply doesn't exist"

I had done a very quick google to see if there was any suggestion where music is interpreted and that didn't come up.
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
Meta? I'd say so!

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by monkey » Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:58 pm

jaap wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:34 pm
monkey wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:18 pm
Boustrophedon wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 2:40 pm
I much prefer to use a phone with my right ear though, probably just habit.
The habit might have formed because your right ear is dominant (or your right hand is dominant for the task of picking up of phones and using your right hand and left ear would be weird).
For me at least that hypothesis fails. I'm very right-handed, but almost always hold the phone in my left hand to my left ear. I would dial with the fingers of my right hand of course. So here's an alternative hypothesis: The (non-dominant) left hand is for holding something steady, e.g. a cooking pot, while the (dominant) right hand does the fine control, e.g. stirring the food.
I just wanted to point out that the dominance might be the cause of the habit, didn't think about it too much - I will point out that I had two hypothesises though, and limited the holding bit to one specific task.

With pots, you are right, it feels weird to stir with my left hand. But if you want *really* steady you'd want your dominant hand, I reckon*. I do anyway.

*ETA: which is probably more about fine motor control than coarse.
Last edited by monkey on Mon Apr 19, 2021 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by monkey » Mon Apr 19, 2021 4:11 pm

Gfamily wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:41 pm
monkey wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:38 pm
Gfamily wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:09 pm
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
Thanks - as ever, the quickest way to get some information is to post on the internet that "the information simply doesn't exist"

I had done a very quick google to see if there was any suggestion where music is interpreted and that didn't come up.
Think I just got luckier with my googling. I thought question of where and how music sounds get sifted from the language sounds was an interesting one.

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by jdc » Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:47 pm

Left-handed and I got the below:
Spoiler:
Last edited by jdc on Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Spoilered. Apologies to anyone who read it.

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Martin_B » Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:02 am

Boustrophedon wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 2:40 pm
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've lived in places with left hand drive cars a few times. After the first couple of gear changes I'm fine with changing gear with my right hand (although I probably do think about it a little more than with my left hand). The major problem, and I never really seemed to overcome it, was at the end of the drive I'd try and put on the hand-brake left-handed and fumble around in the door pocket.
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by monkey » Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:05 am

jdc wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:47 pm
List of answers.
You should've spoilers that, that might influence someone else's result, if they see your list before giving it a go.

Is that something mods can do?

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by basementer » Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:08 am

monkey wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:05 am
jdc wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:47 pm
List of answers.
You should've spoilers that, that might influence someone else's result, if they see your list before giving it a go.

Is that something mods can do?
Report the post using the exclamation mark icon and leave them a note.
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by jdc » Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:08 am

monkey wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 4:11 pm
Gfamily wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:41 pm
Thanks - as ever, the quickest way to get some information is to post on the internet that "the information simply doesn't exist"

I had done a very quick google to see if there was any suggestion where music is interpreted and that didn't come up.
Think I just got luckier with my googling. I thought question of where and how music sounds get sifted from the language sounds was an interesting one.
Daniel Levitin covers this in This is Your Brain on Music, if you're interested in reading more.

Some of my waffle and misinterpretations below, along with a fairly brief quote from the book.

He argues that music and speech may share some neural circuits but can't use completely overlapping neural structures as there are cases of people losing music but not speech and vice versa following brain damage.

He reckons the contour of a melody is processed in the right hemisphere. Naming aspects involve the left hemisphere, and tracking the development of a musical theme is apparently lateralised to the left frontal lobes.

He did an fMRI study with Vinod Menon and says they found that listening to music and paying attention to its structure activated "pars orbitalis - a subsection of the region known as Brodmann Area 47. The region we found in our study had some overlap with previous studies of structure in language but it also had some unique activations. In addition to this left hemisphere activation, we also found activation in an analogous of the right hemisphere. This told us that attending to structures in music requires both halves of the brain, while attending to structure in language only requires the left half."

He says that when sound begins at the eardrum it gets segregated by pitch 'right away' and that 'not much later' speech and music probably diverge into separate processing circuits. The music circuits decompose the signal and separately analyse pitch, timbre, contour and rhythm. Then the output of these neurons "connects to regions in the frontal lobe to put it all together and try to figure out if there is any structure or order to the temporal patterning" and the frontal lobes then ask the hippocampus if it can help out (e.g. whether it's a pattern you've heard before).

Apparently Clive Wearing (herpes encephalitis) retained his musical memories but the only non-musical memory he retained was of his wife. Ravel lost his sense of pitch but not timbre, after deterioration of portions of his left cortex.

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by monkey » Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:36 am

jdc wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:08 am
monkey wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 4:11 pm
Gfamily wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:41 pm


Thanks - as ever, the quickest way to get some information is to post on the internet that "the information simply doesn't exist"

I had done a very quick google to see if there was any suggestion where music is interpreted and that didn't come up.
Think I just got luckier with my googling. I thought question of where and how music sounds get sifted from the language sounds was an interesting one.
Daniel Levitin covers this in This is Your Brain on Music, if you're interested in reading more.

Some of my waffle and misinterpretations below, along with a fairly brief quote from the book.

He argues that music and speech may share some neural circuits but can't use completely overlapping neural structures as there are cases of people losing music but not speech and vice versa following brain damage.

He reckons the contour of a melody is processed in the right hemisphere. Naming aspects involve the left hemisphere, and tracking the development of a musical theme is apparently lateralised to the left frontal lobes.

He did an fMRI study with Vinod Menon and says they found that listening to music and paying attention to its structure activated "pars orbitalis - a subsection of the region known as Brodmann Area 47. The region we found in our study had some overlap with previous studies of structure in language but it also had some unique activations. In addition to this left hemisphere activation, we also found activation in an analogous of the right hemisphere. This told us that attending to structures in music requires both halves of the brain, while attending to structure in language only requires the left half."

He says that when sound begins at the eardrum it gets segregated by pitch 'right away' and that 'not much later' speech and music probably diverge into separate processing circuits. The music circuits decompose the signal and separately analyse pitch, timbre, contour and rhythm. Then the output of these neurons "connects to regions in the frontal lobe to put it all together and try to figure out if there is any structure or order to the temporal patterning" and the frontal lobes then ask the hippocampus if it can help out (e.g. whether it's a pattern you've heard before).

Apparently Clive Wearing (herpes encephalitis) retained his musical memories but the only non-musical memory he retained was of his wife. Ravel lost his sense of pitch but not timbre, after deterioration of portions of his left cortex.
Thanks. I might try and find that book. Is it easy to read? Sounds like it's got a 'for the interested lay person' title (which is me).

The bolded bit: that's the sort of thing I was wondering about. With vision the processing starts in your retina, before getting to your LGN and then the various layers of visual cortex, and I don't know after that. But I'd of thought that the bits of an image related to language would only recognised fairly far downstream, so not sent to that but very early on. Thought hearing might be a bit easier to sort, so could be done earlier.

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Tessa K » Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:15 am

jaap wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:34 pm
monkey wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:18 pm
Boustrophedon wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 2:40 pm
I much prefer to use a phone with my right ear though, probably just habit.
The habit might have formed because your right ear is dominant (or your right hand is dominant for the task of picking up of phones and using your right hand and left ear would be weird).
For me at least that hypothesis fails. I'm very right-handed, but almost always hold the phone in my left hand to my left ear. I would dial with the fingers of my right hand of course. So here's an alternative hypothesis: The (non-dominant) left hand is for holding something steady, e.g. a cooking pot, while the (dominant) right hand does the fine control, e.g. stirring the food.
I'm right handed but 'dial' (on a mobile) with my left and hold the phone in my left hand. I've always texted with my left too. I agree with your hypothesis that the left hand is generally for more static tasks. We have two hands, it makes sense to use both.

There has been research (that I don't have time to look up) that women instinctly hold babies in their left hands/arms. Possibly because that leaves the right free.

It may make a difference if you play a musical instrument as you're more used to using the left either independently of the right at the same time???

My mum is left-handed so maybe I have some vestigial tendency even though I'm right handed?

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Fishnut » Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:29 pm

Finally listened to this. I heard both sets of words ok, sometimes the left side was more dominant, other times the right side was more dominant. 3 of the words were slightly stronger in my left ear, 4 were slightly stronger in my right ear. I'm very left-handed.
it's okay to say "I don't know"

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Tessa K » Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:36 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:29 pm
Finally listened to this. I heard both sets of words ok, sometimes the left side was more dominant, other times the right side was more dominant. 3 of the words were slightly stronger in my left ear, 4 were slightly stronger in my right ear. I'm very left-handed.
I know we're a small group but now I'm wondering why Adam Rutherford heard only one set of words.

Re the mention of music and words activating different parts of the brain: it's easier to remember songs for many people than poetry or speeches. Is it some interaction between the parts of the brain melding together the two elements of words and music that makes memories faster and stronger? I think they're both left brain, from memory.

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Gfamily » Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:54 pm

Tessa K wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:36 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:29 pm
Finally listened to this. I heard both sets of words ok, sometimes the left side was more dominant, other times the right side was more dominant. 3 of the words were slightly stronger in my left ear, 4 were slightly stronger in my right ear. I'm very left-handed.
I know we're a small group but now I'm wondering why Adam Rutherford heard only one set of words.
I only heard one set of words (as words) - yes, I could hear that there was something in both ears, but only the left gave me understandable words.
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
Meta? I'd say so!

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Tessa K » Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:06 pm

Gfamily wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:54 pm
Tessa K wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:36 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:29 pm
Finally listened to this. I heard both sets of words ok, sometimes the left side was more dominant, other times the right side was more dominant. 3 of the words were slightly stronger in my left ear, 4 were slightly stronger in my right ear. I'm very left-handed.
I know we're a small group but now I'm wondering why Adam Rutherford heard only one set of words.
I only heard one set of words (as words) - yes, I could hear that there was something in both ears, but only the left gave me understandable words.
We'd all need to listen with the same headphones and sound source to make this a proper experiment but the variations reported here are really interesting.

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by jdc » Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:39 pm

monkey wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:36 am

Thanks. I might try and find that book. Is it easy to read? Sounds like it's got a 'for the interested lay person' title (which is me).
Yeah, it's definitely written for the general reader. First chapter covers some basic points on music theory. There's a brief glossary of terms like pitch, loudness and reverberation etc.

There's a few complaints in the reviews on Good Reads from musicians who found the first couple of chapters boringly basic, and one review starts "Levitin goes too far out of his way to make the book appeal to the layman."

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Fishnut » Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:42 pm

jdc wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:39 pm
There's a few complaints in the reviews on Good Reads from musicians who found the first couple of chapters boringly basic, and one review starts "Levitin goes too far out of his way to make the book appeal to the layman."
:o

How dare he make it appeal to the masses
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by monkey » Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:01 pm

jdc wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:39 pm
monkey wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:36 am

Thanks. I might try and find that book. Is it easy to read? Sounds like it's got a 'for the interested lay person' title (which is me).
Yeah, it's definitely written for the general reader. First chapter covers some basic points on music theory. There's a brief glossary of terms like pitch, loudness and reverberation etc.

There's a few complaints in the reviews on Good Reads from musicians who found the first couple of chapters boringly basic, and one review starts "Levitin goes too far out of his way to make the book appeal to the layman."
As long as the neuroscientists are also saying it's too simple, I think we're on to a winner :lol:

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Martin Y » Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:24 pm

Right handed, heard most of the words from both sides except for a couple of the right ear words I couldn't catch at all.

Unexpectedly I did find that I hadn't memorised the list of words. If they'd been alternating, or if perhaps I had only concentrated on one side, I expect I could have a good go at repeating them but these just didn't stick at all.

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Boustrophedon » Tue Apr 20, 2021 6:58 pm

jaap wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:34 pm
monkey wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:18 pm
Boustrophedon wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 2:40 pm
I much prefer to use a phone with my right ear though, probably just habit.
The habit might have formed because your right ear is dominant (or your right hand is dominant for the task of picking up of phones and using your right hand and left ear would be weird).
For me at least that hypothesis fails. I'm very right-handed, but almost always hold the phone in my left hand to my left ear. I would dial with the fingers of my right hand of course. So here's an alternative hypothesis: The (non-dominant) left hand is for holding something steady, e.g. a cooking pot, while the (dominant) right hand does the fine control, e.g. stirring the food.
Which makes the spout on Le Creuset pans all wrong for me as I am always holding the pan in my left hand and the spout is for pouring with the right.
saucepan.jpg
saucepan.jpg (18.21 KiB) Viewed 282 times
You have come across the "Chinese Rings" puzzle For some reason when I learned how to do it, I held the handle in my right hand, and thus was left doing the fiddly bit with the left. It was years before I realised that I was doing it left handed and that felt entirely natural.

Image

Image from Jaap https://www.jaapsch.net/puzzles/spinout.htm
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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by Tessa K » Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:19 am

I once overheard a woman telling people she had special left-handed knitting needles. I wondered if she'd been conned into buying something that doesn't exist. Did any of the lefties here find it harder to learn to knit (assuming any of you do?)

I once taught a left-handed woman to crochet. That was interesting as I had to adjust my brain to her holding the hook in the other hand. The hook is the same though.

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Re: Handed ness and Language

Post by bagpuss » Wed Apr 21, 2021 9:36 am

Tessa K wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:19 am
I once overheard a woman telling people she had special left-handed knitting needles. I wondered if she'd been conned into buying something that doesn't exist. Did any of the lefties here find it harder to learn to knit (assuming any of you do?)

I once taught a left-handed woman to crochet. That was interesting as I had to adjust my brain to her holding the hook in the other hand. The hook is the same though.
My mum who, bless her, was so determined not to force me into being right-handed that she probably made me more left-handed than I otherwise would have been, tried to teach me to knit left-handed. We both ended up terminally confused so she just taught me to knit right-handed instead, which I then picked up instantly and never looked back. I taught myself to crochet from a book and just automatically did it right-handed because it was easier to copy the pictures that way.

I have no idea wtf left-handed knitting needles might be like so I suspect she was either joking or had been conned. There are sometimes things which seem not to be handed but where a tweak does make them work better for left-handers - like fountain pen nibs - but I am really struggling to imagine anything that you could do to knitting needles that would be in any way helpful. I have googled and cannot find such things, although it's possible there might be some buried among all the "how to knit left-handed" pages.

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