Is Sensitivity Heightened on Your Dominant Side?

4.0 based on 536 ratings

Updated on Feb 13, 2013

Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Life Science


This experiment will evaluate whether a person’s dominant hand is more sensitive than their non-dominant hand.

Research Questions:

  • Is a dominant hand more sensitive to cold than a non-dominant hand?

There are many differences that can be observed when studying a person’s dominant and non-dominant sides. For example, your dominant side tends to be stronger and more coordinated. This experiment will evaluate the hypothesis that the dominant side is also more sensitive. To do this, you will observe how well test subjects are able to manage discomfort when submerging their dominant and non-dominant hands in icy cold water.


  • Left-handed and right-handed adult test subjects
  • A bowl that is big enough to fully submerge both hands
  • Ice water
  • Stop watch
  • Notebook for recording results

Experimental Procedure

  1. Fill the bowl with ice water.
  2. Ask a test subject to place both hands in the bowl. Instruct the test subject to keep his or her hands in the bowl as long as possible. Tell the test subject to remove one or both hands when the discomfort becomes too much to bear. Both hands do not have to be removed at the same time.
  3. Start your stopwatch.
  4. Record how long the subject is able to keep each hand in the bowl of ice water.
  5. Record whether the test subject is right-handed or left-handed.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 for many different right-handed and left-handed test subjects.
  7. Analyze your results. Did right-handed participants tend to remove their right hand from the water before their left hand? Did left-handed participants keep their right hand in the ice water longer than their left hand?

Terms/Concepts: dominant hand, sensitivity

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