Left and Right in the perception of human beings. Comments on the history of left-handedness

The book deals with the right and the left in the perception of human beings and with the phenomenon of left-handedness through the ages.

Scientific findings yielded by perceptual psychology research into the different effects produced by the right and the left side have shown that right-handers and left-handers do not see things the same way! The asymmetry in human lateral perception and the symbolical meaning of left and right handed down through time are also reflected in the fine arts, in manners, customs, and superstitions.

Many works of western religious art have depicted the sinners on the left and the righteous on the right. In church women are seated on the left – they are classified as “earthly” – while the right side is due to the men, “in whom the Spirit dwells”.

The history of left-handedness is closely connected with such valuation. Left-handers have often been ascribed characteristics, which can only be attributed to the valuation of the left and right sides as was handed down through history. Even in our days e.g. even a child may occasionally be called names referring to his left-handedness.

The second part of the book is dedicated to the present development of left-handers to free themselves from discrimination and gain more self-confidence in society. But there are also detailed descriptions of individual biographies, which show that left-handers may suffer irreparable injury if their handedness is being converted.

The book shows clearly how deeply prejudices against left-handers are rooted and that a negative idea of ancient origin can easily manifest itself even today.

Auer Verlag, Donauwörth, 2000, ISBN 3-403-03200-0, 462 pages

More details in the foreword to the book of  Professor Dr. Kurt Müller.

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