Human Zoo

Day twenty six of the ‘Blogging from A-Z Challenge’.  I’ve made it to the end.  I’ve managed to write over thirteen thousand words on a subject I knew very little about until now and made some new friends along the way.  So what have I grasped (pun definitely intended)?

Firstly that being handed is not as straight forward as you might think.  It turns out that I am neither right nor left-handed.  It is true that I have a preference for my right-hand in certain circumstances but there are many things for which the other will do.  Indeed there are many circumstances in which the left proves more reliable and, during my experiment I found that there are times when I did not have to question what I was doing.  Most people operate in the same way.

Secondly, most apps swipe from right to left.

Thirdly, given enough time I have been able to conquer most things that started off as being difficult with my left-hand.  Time is the key.  It takes time to get used to new things and taking your time to get it right is the best medicine.  When I was learning to drive my instructor said that anyone can drive quickly, it is learning to drive slowly that is hard.  That was just before I hit a lamppost.

Fourthly, zips are awkward with the left hand.

Fifthly the bit at the front of the shirt with the button holes is called a plak.

Almost from the start of the challenge I have wondered why in humans there seems to be a right-handed bias which is not prevalent in other species.  I doubt it is a genetic issue yet rather a social one.  I’ve been giving this some thought and have come up with the following possibilities:

Firstly it is more socially acceptable.  Our society is geared to the right-handed.  Things are set up to promote the use of the right hand.  Those of the other persuasion are ridiculed as either a bit of sport or to get them to change their ways.  I wonder though is this a reason for a right-handed bias or a symptom of a general leaning built into society.

Secondly it is easier.  Is this not the same thing?  I have noticed on many occasions that things are set up that make it easier to use the right hand.  Automatic Teller Machines have their keyboards on the right, ticket barriers have their slots on the right and kettles have their on/off switches on the right.  Being left-handed takes more effort than being right-handed and sometimes it’s just easier to give in.

Thirdly it is cheaper.  This is the killer.  In a consumer driven society which relies upon people making things that others want to buy any competitive edge will be compounded quickly.  It is like evolution in action.  If you have to make things that can be used either way around it is significantly cheaper if you only have to make them for one hand.  Even if only a small percentage of people were more right-handed than left then this would infer a commercial advantage which would quickly be reinforced by market pressures.

So basically, if you want to know why in this great human zoo we live in a right-handed society, it’s the economy stupid.

Hope you enjoyed it.  See you next year!

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