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tinyfaery's avatar

Can I teach/train myself to be ambidexterous, or is that something that is "hard-wired" in the brain?

Asked by tinyfaery (41969points) July 17th, 2008

My spouse can do everything with both hands, equally well, and has always done so. Can I learn to do this? Would I just need to practice?

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20 Answers

TheHaight's avatar

Yes. You can. When I broke my right arm (I’m left handed) in grade school I had to write with my right hand, and I got pretty good at it. :)

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

Yep, when my grandmother was a little girl she was left handed, but for some reason her parents wanted her to be right handed so they made her use her right hand for everything leading to ambidexterity as she got older and out of her parents control, but she became somewhat dyslexic with numbers.

lefteh's avatar

@Haight: Sure you didn’t break your left arm?

sccrowell's avatar

I was born left handed, but due to an injury, I had to learn to use my write right.
I use my left hand for just about everything else.
As for getting good at it? That takes constant repetition…

whatthefluther's avatar

As the use of my right hand diminished, I was forced to rely more and more on my left hand. Although I never became as proficient a lefty before it too began to diminish, I was quite surprised how quickly I had adapted to using my left hand. And, I’ll point out that I had been extremely uncoordinated with my left hand. The human body is an amazing thing in its ability to adapt out of necessity.

jlm11f's avatar

I believe it is a lot easier for a left handed person to become ambidextrous than a right handed person. i heard this somewhere anyway, and it seems to agree with all the other quips here all of which are by people who were left handed and had to switch for some reason…(except for wtf..and he points out it didn’t work completely for him.)

jballou's avatar

It’s not any easier physically for a left handed person to become “ambidextrous”, it’s just a right-handed person’s world out there, so they have much more reason and incentive on a daily basis to learn how to do things the “right” way.

As for the main question, it’s possible for you to learn to use your left hand to do certain tasks if you put in the work and practice, but it sounds like your wife is ambidextrous by nature, and that’s not something you’ll be able to duplicate. It’s just something some people are born with like a photographic memory.

jlm11f's avatar

@jballou – of course, that makes sense :) (GA)

dragonflyfaith's avatar

@xxporkxsodaxx I wonder if there’s a connection between being ambidextrous and dyslexic. I just wonder because I sometimes have problems with it myself.

I was taught to color with my right hand but when I was very young (well before school) I was in the hospital for two weeks for a severe sinus infection and they placed the iv in my right hand. It was too painful to color with that hand so my mother encouraged me to try my left hand. We found out pretty quickly that it made no difference to me.

I had a hard time in grade school because my teacher’s were not accepting and forced me to choose. In the end I chose my left hand to write with. I still write with my left hand but can do anything with either. There’s so things that I prefer to use a certain hand for but I’m not any better at with one or the other (example: shooting pool or throwing darts).

Harp's avatar

There is a trend in the scientific community to classify people as “right handed” or “non-right-handed”, with those who are ambidextrous or cross-dominant (doing some things better with one side and other things better with the other side) being considered non-right-handed along with lefties.

This fits in with the latest genetic research that indicates that there is a gene for right handedness, but none for left handedness. If you’re born with the right handedness gene, you’ll be right handed. If you’re born without it, you can go either way, and there’s a small chance that you’ll go both ways.

My guess is that PnL’s suggestion that lefties have an easier time learning ambidexterity may be true because left-handedness doesn’t appear to be genetically programmed. That might also mean that someone born without the gene, but who ended up as a right-hander, might have an easier time learning fine motor control with her left hand.

@dragonflyfaith
There does seem to be a significant link between ambidexterity and learning problems, including dislexia.

gailcalled's avatar

When I broke my dominant (right) wrist and had everything encased in plaster except finger tips, I stumbled along except for writing. When I had to sign checks (back then that’s how we paid bills), my mother or sister forged my signature. I found anything that required small motor skills impossible.

Trance24's avatar

I fractured my arm in the fifth grade and had to write with my right hand (I am left handed). It took a while but I learned to write with my right hand as well as my left. Now at 17 its pretty good. I also do multiple things with my right hand rather then my left. But when it comes to drawing my left hand is my only hand. =]

But seeing Gail’s response perhaps it depends on the person. So maybe your one of them give it a try!

TheHaight's avatar

@lefteh; oops. Yeah I meant my LEFT arm.

tinyfaery's avatar

Thank you for the comments. Interesting about the link between ambidexterity and learning disorders. However, the only learning disorder my spouse has is learning to pick-up after herself. :)

dragonflyfaith's avatar

I sometimes get tongue tied with the order of numbers or letters unless it’s on paper but that’s about it and I wouldn’t exactly call that a learning disorder.

Interesting stuff though.

Harp's avatar

I’m savoring the irony of how I misspelled “dyslexia”

dragonflyfaith's avatar

@harp I was trying not to saying anything lol

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I was really intrigued by the issue of which hand is dominant being determined by genes, so I read a little, and it turns out that a gene for left-handedness was recently discovered, according to this article in national geographic.

tinyfaery's avatar

Thanks chica. Interesting stuff.

buster's avatar

Im write and eat left handed but I can do most things with both hands. I can eat, bowl, throw football, shoot basketball, throw frisbee, and shoot darts almost equally well with both hands. However I can’t throw a baseball worth a damn with my left hand. I can’t write that great right handed. I can’t shoot a gun right handed because my left eye is dominant. For me most stuff just works both ways I dont really try. A few things only work one way or the other.

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