Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Films Of Mitchell And Kenyon Illuminate Lefties' Decline In Victorian England

Date:
September 18, 2007
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
By mining evidence from the classic films made by Mitchell and Kenyon, researchers have confirmed that the left-handed minority suffered something of a setback in Victorian England, at the beginning of the 20th century. In more recent times, lefties' numbers quickly rose again, the researchers report.

By mining evidence from the classic films made by Mitchell and Kenyon, researchers have confirmed that the left-handed minority suffered something of a setback in Victorian England, at the beginning of the 20th century. In more recent times, lefties' numbers quickly rose again, the researchers report in the Sept. 18, 2007, Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press.

"Left-handedness is important because more than 10 percent of people have their brains organized in a qualitatively different way to other people," said Ian Christopher McManus of the University College London. "That has to be interesting. When the rate of a [variable trait] changes, then there have to be causes, and they are interesting as well."

The precise reasons behind lefties' apparent decline, however, have so far remained murky, according to the researchers.

McManus said he was initially interested in geographical differences in the rate of handedness. In examining those patterns, he discovered that the differences in handedness between countries at one point in time also existed within a country over the course of time. "'The past is another country,' as they say," McManus said.

Indeed, although left-handers currently form about 11 percent of the population, earlier studies showed that only about 3 percent of those born in 1900 were left-handed, "a more than three-fold difference requiring some explanation," the researchers said.

To begin to sort out the causes of lefties' decline, the researchers looked to a series of films made between 1897 and 1913 in northern England, in which they identified 391 arm-wavers. They then compared the numbers of left and right-handed wavers in the old movies to a "modern control group" obtained by searching for "waving" in Google Image.

The incidence of left-handed waving in the turn-of-the-century films was about 15 percent, compared to about 24 percent on the web, they report. They then compared their arm-waving data to extensive data on handwriting preferences gathered by other researchers, noting that left-waving is generally more common than left-writing. After accounting for that distinction, they found that "the earlier Victorian rates of left-handedness are broadly equivalent to modern rates, whereas rates then decline, with the lowest values for those born between about 1890 and 1910."

In the Victorian images, lefty wavers were most commonly older, they found, excluding the possibility that mortality among lefties was greater. "Since Victorian social pressure to wave with the right arm also seems highly unlikely, and there can be no response bias, the most likely interpretation is of a falling rate of left-handedness in the nineteenth century, with a true increase in left-handedness during the twentieth century," they concluded.

McManus and Hartigan: "The decline of left-handedness in Victorian England: arm-waving in the films of Mitchell and Kenyon" Publishing in Current Biology, 18 Sept. 2007, R793-R794.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Films Of Mitchell And Kenyon Illuminate Lefties' Decline In Victorian England." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070917112533.htm>.
Cell Press. (2007, September 18). Films Of Mitchell And Kenyon Illuminate Lefties' Decline In Victorian England. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070917112533.htm
Cell Press. "Films Of Mitchell And Kenyon Illuminate Lefties' Decline In Victorian England." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070917112533.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) A study by King's College London says there's a link between how well kids draw at age 4 and how intelligent they are later in life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mental, Neurological Disabilities Up 21% Among Kids

Mental, Neurological Disabilities Up 21% Among Kids

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) New numbers show a decade's worth of changes in the number of kids with disabilities. They suggest mental disabilities are up; physical ones are down. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins