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Films of Mitchell and Kenyon illuminate lefties' decline in Victorian England
Date:9/17/2007

their arm-waving data to extensive data on handwriting preferences gathered by other researchers, noting that left-waving is generally more common than left-writing. After accounting for that distinction, they found that "the earlier Victorian rates of left-handedness are broadly equivalent to modern rates, whereas rates then decline, with the lowest values for those born between about 1890 and 1910."

In the Victorian images, lefty wavers were most commonly older, they found, excluding the possibility that mortality among lefties was greater. "Since Victorian social pressure to wave with the right arm also seems highly unlikely, and there can be no response bias, the most likely interpretation is of a falling rate of left-handedness in the nineteenth century, with a true increase in left-handedness during the twentieth century," they concluded.


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Contact: Nancy Wampler
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