Changing People’s Minds
Humans are rational beings, right? Dr. Casasanto suggests that our mind is malleable.
People generally like to think their judgements are rational, and their concepts are stable. But if wearing a glove for a few minutes can reverse people’s usual judgements of what’s good and bad, perhaps the mind is more malleable than we thought.
What if you’re ambidextrous? Dr. Casasanto says that everyone is ambidextrous, and that,
…handedness isn’t really binary, left vs. right, it’s continuous — some people are just more biased toward one hand than the other. We usually measure handedness on a scale of -100 (very strongly left-handed) to +100 (very strongly right handed). The stronger your handedness, the more strongly you show body-specific biases to prefer the right or left. People toward the middle of the scale — show weaker biases.
Dr. Casasanto’s statements show that people will adapt to their environment in a way which feels natural. A person who writes with his left hand may throw a ball with his right hand. A right-handed person may use a mouse with her left hand. These interactions show that people are wired for both hands.
In the same study, Dr. Casasanto’s research showed that individuals who have lost a hand, or were unable to use a hand, would soon adapt mentally to the association of “good” being on the dominant side. This type of mental wiring may have been evolutionary, stemming from individuals suffering injuries hunting for food.
Interacting With The Environment
Additional studies are in progress, examining handedness and the ways in which our thought processes are affected by the ways in which we interact with our environment.
Casasanto, D. Different Bodies, Different Minds:The Body Specificity of Language and Thought. (2011). Current Directions In Psychological Science. Accessed February 27, 2012.
Decoding Science. One article at a time.