Is it possible to be perfectly ambidextrous?

It may depend on your standards. Is being able to handwrite with both hands “perfect” or must the ouput be indistinguishable?

A friend of mine is pretty darn ambidextrous. She’s a knight in the SCA and can fight equally well left- or right-handed. She also can’t tell left from right because they are meaningless concepts…

I’ve heard of people who can do simultaneous mirror writing. One hand reads normal, the other is a mirror image.

I also remember from eons ago, before I ever heard of computers, when Apple’s Lisa was cool (just putting into perspective how long ago this was), that brain tilt had something to do with “handedness.” If your brain tilted one way in your cranium, I guess, you were right handed, the other way, left, and if no tilt at all, ambidexterous. I will try to find a cite site for this, but I don’t know if I can, what with it being such an old and odd memory. Anyone else ever hear of this?

FTR, I’m pretty ambi, but the left hand writing looks bad. And my right hand writing style was commented on by my teachers as looking like I was doing it like a lefty does. But, in my work, remodel, I can do everything I need to with either hand.

This is a joke, right? Did I just hear the ole whoooosh over my head?

Last I heard Left and Right are not “concepts” but actual terms. I can understand if she had trouble remembering her left from her right but I can’t see how they are meaningless to her. Her left will always be her left no matter if she was ambidextrous or not.

It must be a bitch to give her directions.

I think given practice, it’s possible. I’m ambidextrious, and as a youngster, spent more time using both hands. I did pretty much the same quality with either hand. Now, however, I have preferences (left hand for writing, right hand for cutting) and when I try to write with my right hand, or cut with my left, it’s still decent but not the same quality.

I’m sorta ambidextrious (it’s a range thing, not a “yes-no” thing), and I have trouble with left-right directions - always have to stop and think about it, which is not good in traffic. The Beloved has adapted, and when she’s riding shotgun and giving directions, says “your side” and “my side.” That works much better for me than right and left.

Well I still have to update my Guinness Book but in my old 1986 edition, in the “Writing under handicap” category, they mention three claimants of the ability to write:

“…extemperaneously and decipherably backwards, upside down, mirror-style while blindfolded…” with both hands AND feet simultaneously.

Houdini claimed that he taught himself to be ambidextrous by switching hands at the dinner table so that he could use either one with equal ability, dunno if being able to untie knots and pick locks is the requisite skill that you are talking about.

warning - spoiler contains profanity not welcome in GQ

Yeah I’m ambidexterous. I can write fuck all with both hands!

Sorry. had to say that. Lee Evans is one of my fave comedians.

There are very few people who can’t do this. Try it some time: The writing from your off hand will be a bit sloppy, but (in a mirror) legible.

I just tried that, Chronos. It’s actually surprisingly easy, and the writing turned out very legibly, and not even that sloppy. You learn something new every day.


The question is, can your left hand fight your right hand? :wink:

I’ve read somewhere that during the American Civil War the difficulty some recruits had in distinguishing left from right was resolved by tying a wisp of hay to one foot and a wisp of straw to the other. Directions were then given by referring to Hay Foot or Straw Foot.
Or was this a leg pull?.

Well, as a thought experiment, imagine someone who has never heard of theterms right and left, and this someone has been living in a featureless room all his/her life…
if you are talking to them on the phone, you cannot explain to them with absolute certainty which hand is on the right and which is on the left…
remember some people are born wiyh their hearts on the right hand side of the body, and all the other bodily organs reversed.
This problem is due to the principle of the conservation of parity, and you would have to go down to microbiological level to find some definite difference between left and right…
if by any chance your correspondent in the featureless room is an alien, with mirror-image protiens, you will never be able to decribe the difference between left and right.

We are not talking about a person who never heard of the terms right and left. Ethilrist said they are meaningless concepts to this woman. Unless she has been under a rock for her entire life the terms left and right have been introduced to her by someone in society.

Again, I have no problem with certain people, ambidextrous or not, having trouble remembering their left from right but they should be able to understand that there is a difference. If not the problem lies elsewhere than their handedness.

I don’t get your "featureless room " example. Are you saying they live in an enclosed room with nothing inside except a phone (which sounds like a “feature” to me)? If so, explain to the person that while looking at the keypad of the phone the 1,4 and 7 are one the “left side”, the 3, 6 and 9 are on the “right side” and the 2, 5 and 8 are in the middle. There you go, left and right have been introduced to this person.

I didn’t even have to go to a microbiological level. :rolleyes:

#It’s a mirror image phone
(or is it?)

My point is that as nearly bilaterally symetrical animals we could be excused if we have a lot of trouble with right and left,
and IMO they do qualify as concepts not just terms.
Having said that the human brain is divided into two hemispheres with slightly different functions in some respects, so some degree of 'handedness isto be expected.
Perhaps an ambidextrous person has a particularly well developed set of conections between the left hand side and right hand side of her/his brain.

eburacum45, you’ve almost got it.
handedness is to do with which part of your brain does what.

that is, in most people, the left hand side of the brain controls speech and language, in 10% of people some of this function (but probably not all) is taken over by the right side.

likewise, in most, but not all people the left motor cortex is more developed than the right, some people have more like 50/50, and some people have a more developed right side.
and no, i’m not mixing up right and left in this post, the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa.

my mother had problems distinguishing between right and left, it’s better since she and my father married…
when giving directions to her we have to say wedding ring, not wedding ring.

eburacum45, I have no idea how your last post answers, or even attempts to answer, anything I refuted.

That said, I do not believe being ambidexterous is resposible from someone not understanding that there is a difference between left and right (whether or not it is a concept or term).

Hell, just them knowing they are ambidexterous (and unique) and that most people favor one hand over another explains that there is a difference. Thereby the concept (for your sake) of left and right is part of the concept of what they are. If they can’t understand they are unique in that respect then they can’t say they are ambidexterous becuase that has no meaning either.

Irishgirl, but your mother knows there is a difference, between left and right, right? She just has a problem recalling which is which.

Yes, I admit it, NYR407…
the parity argument has little to do with ambidextrous people- unless there is a deep psychological difference between ambidexters and everyone else…
just casting around blindly trying to find a way of envisaging a lack of discrimination with respect to handedness.

Depending on how to define it, I can shoot a gun (well, my paint markers) with either hand and shoot my compound bow with either hand as well. I’m a switch hitter in baseball but must throw with my right hand (I can catch very well with either).

I can’t write with both hands though (I cannot write at all with my left actually).