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Handedness

Author: Judee Shipman

Grade Level: 9th - 12th; Type: Cognitive Science

Objective:

Observe and describe the effects of left and right handedness on writing speed and penmanship.

The goals of this project are:

  1. To determine the importance of handedness.
  2. To devise a test of handedness in relation to writing ability.

Research Questions:

  • In what ways are left-handed people said to be different from right-handed people?
  • What percentage of people are left-handed?
  • What are some existing theories regarding handedness?
  • What studies have been done on this attribute, and what did the studies reveal?

The differences between left-handed and right-handed people has been a topic of interest among behavioral scientists throughout the ages. In this project you will devise a test of the correlation between handedness and writing-related motor skills like speed and penmanship.

Materials:

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Color printer
  • Digital camera
  • Typical office/hobby/hardware/craft supplies (paper, poster board, glue, etc.).
  • Ten right-handed volunteers
  • Ten left-handed volunteers

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Carefully study the related literature (see bibliography below).
  2. Address all of the terms and research questions mentioned here.
  3. Search and print out interesting images relevant to your topic.
  4. Take interesting photos throughout the course of the experiment.
  5. Ask all volunteers to hand-copy the same paragraph of text. These will serve as penmanship samples.
  6. Ask all volunteers to hand-copy another paragraph of text as fast as they can. Measure the time it takes in seconds for each volunteer to complete the paragraph.
  7. Select several pairs of handwriting samples (one of each pair randomly chosen from the left-handed group and one of each pair randomly chosen from the right-handed group).
  8. Show these to people (not the volunteers), and ask which handwriting sample they think “looks neater.”
  9. Analyze your data, comparing results between the two groups of volunteers.
  10. Explain your findings in a detailed report.
  11. Include graphics, charts, diagrams and live chickens in your science fair display.

Terms/Concepts: Ambidexterity; Mixed-handedness

References:

 

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