Of handedness and haircuts (By Dr P Welsby)

Had a haircut today. Noticed that (a normally right handed) barber used his left hand for scissors and trimmers and I wondered why. String instrument players use their left hand (ie non-dominant hand usually) for the intricate finger board or fret work – the standard explanation being that melodic memory is usually in the non-dominant brain hemisphere – people with stokes affecting their left side often cannot recognize tunes. I ask such patients what was the source of Da da da dum and very few with left hemiparesis could identify it the opening of Beethoven’s fifth symphony). But then very few of the medical students could identify it. “How times change.” Of course cardiologists will recognise it as mitral stenosis in sinus rhythm Lup ta ta ruv. Back to the barber. So there is a brain center for hairdressing in the non-dominant brain hemisphere?

Then there is the question “Does the laterality of hair parting reflect the handedness of the owner of the head in question?” Someone ought to do an MD!

Perhaps the barber was dextrous with his left hand? But there is the semantic problem you cannot have dexterity with the left hand. Dexterity is derived from the Latin dexteritatem (nominative dexteritas) whereas contemporary dictionaries defined dexterity as “readiness, skillfulness, prosperity,” from dexter “skillful,” also “right (hand).”

(Visited 186 times, 1 visits today)