Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Right Sight

"The right half of the brain controls the left half of the body. This means that only left handed people are in their right mind."

Anonymous


Just like how a person is usually either right or left-handed, are you aware that one of your eyes tends to be more dominant when compared to the other? It's usually referred to as "eyedness" or ocular dominance and there is no shortage of ways to determine which one of your peepers is the boss. If you don't know how to, you're in luck because I am going to teach you. I present to you, the Miles test - one so easy you can do it right where you are!

Okay, okay. First, extend both your arms in front of you and make a window using your thumb and fingers like so,

Hand Window

Next, look through the window with both eyes open at a distant stationary object like a doorknob, the face of a clock or a photograph on your desk. If you like, you can simply lean back and focus on this kitten here in the centre of this picture,

A Kitty in Hand

Remember to keep both eyes open when you're positioning the object. This is crucial.

When you're ready, close one of your eyes. Then, switch eyes. Do it several more times and you'll see the kitty blinking in and out of the frame. Here's how to interpret your findings,

  • If you see the kitty when your right eye is open, it means your right eye is dominant.
  • If you see the kitty when your left eye is open, it means you are an ocular lefty.

In normal binocular vision, there is an effect of parallax due to the fact that both your eyes are situated on either sides of your face, resulting in two viewpoints and causing binocular rivalry. So, in order to maintain an accurate sense of the positions of the things you see, your brain tends to favour the visual input through one eye over the other. This is probably not very important unless you are into archery, firearms or spying at women in the showers through peepholes.

Studies showed that about two-thirds of people are right-eyed, while right-handed folks outnumber southpaws eight-to-one. What it means is just because you are right-handed doesn't mean you're right-eyed. Take me, for example: I'm right-handed but my dominant eye is the left one, but this might have something to do with the fact that I initially started out sinister back when I was a wee toddler, but my mother (who attended a convent school) forced me to switch to holding a pen with my right. I ended having a rather mixed-bag of hand-preferences. I write and use chopsticks with my right but handle scissors, racquets and swords with my left. My knife and fork hands are also reversed. I can still write with my left if I'm forced to (like when I get writer's cramp), but I do so at a slightly more hesitant speed.

One of the reasons suggested for the great disparity between dexters and sinisters in the world are our cultural predilections to denigrate left-handed people for completely wacky, superstitious reasons. I should know; I was a victim. The Catholic Church in particular, in their psychotic quest for holiness and purity, insisted that the left side is intrinsically evil, sinful and diabolical. We have all heard of how schoolteachers and nuns in Catholic schools would rap left-handed children on the knuckles in order to bully them into switching paws. I swear I'll punch out the next nun I catch doing that. WITH MY LEFT FIST OF SATAN. KAPOW!



P.S. Yes, I can turn any subject into a diatribe against religion.

P.P.S. To bring up something tangentially related to this post, I read an article in an old issue of the Scientific American about how when people turn their heads to kiss (to get the nose out of the way, duh), they tend to do so on one side. Here's an article about the original published study in Nature back in 2003. Like eye dominance, there are twice as many right-turners as there are left ones (I'm in the minority again). Now, I wonder if it's awkward for someone who prefers to turn left to snog someone who prefers right. Only one way to find out: TO THE LABORATORY!




A sinister mister,
k0k s3n w4i

7 comments:

Terri said...

(naturally) right-handed, left eye is dominant, tilts head to the right, crosses left leg over right.

does this really matter?! :D

jumei. said...

Hi ! I started out as left-handed too & my kindergarten teacher somehow asked me to switch to right hand. By the way, I tried the test & my left eye is dominant :O

lovealynna said...

Right and right. I guess I'm just part of the majority, heh.

My sister started out being left-handed but it was harder for us to teach her how to write and we tried to see if she was ambidextrous. Now she's kinda mixed as well; she writes with her right hand but she likes holding her spoon on her left hand sometimes.

Philip Khor said...

i don't know about catholic schools so no comment there. but that is child abuse.

Dr.Vishaal Bhat said...

ha ha.. your tirade against the church...

Jen said...

Haha I totally saw that last paragraph in this post coming.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Terri: actually, it does. left-handedness is associated with higher IQ :D

jumei: high-five, kindred spirit! with our left palms!

lovealynna: haha, you're part of the oppressors! you mean your family made her switch to the right to see if she'd learn faster?

Philip Khor: well, it's the catholic church after all. they have a long, spotty history of abusing children - sexual or otherwise.

Dr.Vishaal Bhat: someone's gotta do it. someone's gotta go PUNCH A NUN!

Jen: the word "convent" clued you in, i presume.