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Old 02-09-2020, 11:02 PM
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The right-left of clasping hands


When asked to clasp our hands, some of us seem to have the right thumb on top and some of us seem to have the left thumb on top. Ever noticed this? Check it out with a bunch of freiends / family.

This does not seems to be connected with our right/left handedness.

Sure, we can clasp it the other way too (if we tried consciously) but it just feels a bit weird...

What's going on ...? Do we have a scientific explanation?

--

Oh, i have the right thumb on top, btw
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:22 PM
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I'm right-handed, and my upper hand when clapping is the right hand. That's also the more active hand in the process, don't know if that makes a statistical difference.
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Last edited by EinsteinsHund; 02-09-2020 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:03 AM
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I just polled my immediate family. 2 RH, 2 LH, all left thumb on top.
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:20 AM
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Old thread
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:21 AM
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I think it's correlated with right/left handedness, though the correlation is much less than unity.

When you cross your arms across your chest, which arm is on top? For righties it's usually the left arm. When playing bridge, righties usually hold the cards with left hand and select plays with right hand.

I do all three of the above things the way a leftie does, though I do most tasks as a rightie.

(I was switched from leftie to rightie by one of my early teachers. This is one of my go-to excuses for my clumsiness and personality disorders. )
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:40 AM
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Oh ... nice. Thank you
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:43 AM
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About 40 years ago, I heard that this was a hereditary thing. Don't remember much more about it, though, like where I heard it. Most likely in some college class.
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:05 AM
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Next step.

Do you have a partner that you often hold hands with? Try the same exercise, but with your partner. Then switch sides.

By myself, I put my left thumb over my right thumb. But when I (F) hold hands with my partner (M), it's more more comfortable for his thumb to be over mine. Both sides. My theory is that it's more comfortable as his hand is a bit bigger than mine.

He also puts his left thumb over his left thumb.
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Old 02-10-2020, 03:50 AM
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My right thumb is on top. I'm right handed: so, right index finger, left thumb, right thumb is the final stacking.

ETA: As for folded arms, my right arm is on top. I actually struggle to try to fold them with my left arm on top. I can barely figure out how to do it!

Last edited by Leaffan; 02-10-2020 at 03:53 AM.
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Old 02-10-2020, 05:50 AM
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He also puts his left thumb over his left thumb.
How dexterous of him.
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Old 02-10-2020, 06:24 AM
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How dexterous of him.
Yes, quite adroit, I must say.
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Old 02-10-2020, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Die Capacitrix View Post
He also puts his left thumb over his left thumb.
How dexterous of him.
Sounds sinister, to me.
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Old 02-10-2020, 10:04 AM
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Sounds sinister, to me.
Not to mention gauche.
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Old 02-10-2020, 10:30 AM
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Thorough righty here. I have left thumb on top. Left arm on top. I deal cards either way, probably more often with pack in right hand.
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
When you cross your arms across your chest, which arm is on top? For righties it's usually the left arm.
Do you mean "on top" as in "closer to the ceiling"? Or as in "forearm on top of the other forearm"?
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:19 PM
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I'm right handed, with my left thumb on top.
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:48 PM
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I'm right-handed, and my upper hand when clapping is the right hand. That's also the more active hand in the process, don't know if that makes a statistical difference.
Please disregard this post. I posted when I was overdue for bed and read "clapping hands" instead of "clasping hands".
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:44 AM
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I thought it was almost universal that the right thumb would be on top. At summer camp, I learned a trick where you clasp your hands upside-down with your arms crossed, then put your index fingers on each side of your nose and then uncross your arms. Then you challenge someone else to do the same trick and they can't do it -- the reason being that it only works if you clasp your hands the "wrong" way.

It's hard to describe and I'm not sure how to do an internet search for it.
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:54 AM
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Yes, my left thumb is on top. It feels balanced and comfortable. I tried intentionally reversing it, and it feels out of balance and uncomfortable. I favor the right hand but am ambidextrous.
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Old 02-11-2020, 06:12 PM
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Right handed.

Left thumb on top. When I cross my arms, my right arm is on top. And I wring a cloth "righty-tighty".

Interestingly, when I'm carring a load of stuff and want a hand free to, say, open a doorknob, the right arm is the one that holds the pile of stuff and the left one does the door-opening. I also hold my phone in my right hand and type on it with my left.
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Old 02-11-2020, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Do you mean "on top" as in "closer to the ceiling"? Or as in "forearm on top of the other forearm"?
I meant the latter. But "right arm" is my answer to both your questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Zappa View Post
Interestingly, when I'm carring a load of stuff and want a hand free to, say, open a doorknob, the right arm is the one that holds the pile of stuff and the left one does the door-opening. I also hold my phone in my right hand and type on it with my left.
I do most things with my right hand. Including carrying a bag despite that an awkward shift will be needed so my right hand can use key to open door.
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Old 02-12-2020, 11:43 AM
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I meant the latter. But "right arm" is my answer to both your questions.
Hmm. I can cross my arms so as to produce that effect, but it takes an effort, and deliberately raising my elbows up. When I cross my arms naturally, my right hand is on top of my left arm in both senses, but my left hand and part of my left forearm are closer to the ceiling than my right arm and forearm; and most of my right arm is lower to the ground, it's coming up from below to cross over the left arm.

I can easily also cross my arms the other way around, which apparently some people find awkward; but if I do it without thinking about it at all, the right hand winds up on top -- actually, if I do it the other way around, it's hard to say which is on top; they're about equal -- each hand is on top of the other forearm, and the forearms are close to horizontal with each other.
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hogarth View Post
I thought it was almost universal that the right thumb would be on top. At summer camp, I learned a trick where you clasp your hands upside-down with your arms crossed, then put your index fingers on each side of your nose and then uncross your arms. Then you challenge someone else to do the same trick and they can't do it -- the reason being that it only works if you clasp your hands the "wrong" way.

It's hard to describe and I'm not sure how to do an internet search for it.
I just tried it four different ways: right arm on top - right thumb on top ,right arm - left thumb, left arm - right thumb, and left arm - left thumb.

Results: right finger on left side of nose and left finger on right side no matter how I started. And I still could uncross my arms from any of them.
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Old 02-13-2020, 04:24 PM
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Next step.

Do you have a partner that you often hold hands with? Try the same exercise, but with your partner. Then switch sides.

By myself, I put my left thumb over my right thumb. But when I (F) hold hands with my partner (M), it's more more comfortable for his thumb to be over mine. Both sides. My theory is that it's more comfortable as his hand is a bit bigger than mine.

He also puts his left thumb over his left thumb.
When Ms. P and I hold hands (usually, but not always, my left and her right) my thumb is on top. Our son and his girl friend don't usually clasp hands when they're holding hands. Maybe that's because their hands are closer in size than mine and Ms. P's.
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