Prince William and President Obama
What unusual trait do they have in common?
You may have noticed that both are south paws or left handers, but if you look closer you’ll notice they both share a particular style of handwriting.
Curling one’s hand around and over the top of their writing so that the fingers face the body as they write is called Inverted or Hooked handwriting.
Inverted writing is more common in left handers and in males. About one out of every ten people are left handed and an even smaller percentage write inverted.
This places President Obama and Prince William in another very small and unique group of individuals.
Various studies have been done observing the activity of the brains of inverted writers since the late 1970′s. It has been thought that inverted left handers were same-sided. The right side of the brain controling the right side of the body and the left hemisphere controled the left side of the body rather than the typical cross over.
In one study based on the results of cognitive tests “inverted left-handers performed significantly or near-significantly better than the non-inverted left-handers on two of the four tests and significantly better on the total score for the test battery”. (1)
In another study, based on language tasks, using only left handers the results indicated that inverted left handers used both hemispheres equally, whereas in comparison the non-inverted left handers used one side. (2)
There are inverted right handers, too. Science reveals they use their brains differently than inverted left handers and are not classified together.
It’s believed by some that left handers write hooked so that as they drag their hand across the paper they don’t smear their writing. Countering that thought are those that normally write from right to left, such as Hebrew scribes, which also have left handers among them along with their mix of inverted and non-inverted writers. (3)
Some researchers would prefer to blame the teachers who taught the left handed child to write. They recommend slanting the paper to the right and repositioning the child’s hand so they will write correctly.
There are many stories shared by natural left handers who were forced to write with their right hands. Teachers would whack their hand with a ruler when a student was caught writing with the wrong hand, or even have their left hand tied behind their back!
Fortunately those days are gone! Doubtful anyone ever struck the hands of young Prince William or Barack Obama for their penmanship techniques.
“Left Brain, Right Brain” Springer & Deutsch 1989
(1) Cognitive abilities in left-handers: writing posture revisited http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11516440
Variations in writing posture and cerebral organization: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/968487
(2) FMRI Analysis of Inverted and Non-inverted Left-handed Subjects During Language Tasks: http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi?acc_num=mco1096298665
(3) “The Hand Book” Linda Lee & James Carlton 1980
Your left hand, your right hand, and both sides of your brain: http://www.rkwest.com/left-handed/writing-left/