Am I Really Ambi-Cognitive?


Megan McArdle just made me waste 30 seconds on a test that’s designed to show whether I’m left- or right-brained. The answer, supposedly, is that I use both sides equally, which strikes me as fairly unlikely. I’m also suspicious of the test. One question asks, “Put your hand on your head. Which hand did you use?” Well, I used my left hand, but that’s because my right hand was on the mouse. So does that count?

But forget the kvetching. Here’s one question that perplexed me: “Look at an object and close one eye. Which eye is still open?” I did that, and my right eye was open. But just as I clicked that answer, I realized something was wrong. I’m left eyed. When I look through a camera viewfinder, for example, I always use my left eye. Using my right eye would feel as awkward as using my left hand to write.

But, in fact, if I just close an eye to look at something in the distance, I do indeed close my left eye and use my right eye. I just tried this a few times, and it turns out there are two reasons for this. First, I have better control over my left eye muscles, so closing my left eye is a little easier than closing my right eye. Second, my right eye seems more comfortable to use, even though I’m wearing glasses that correct both eyes to 20/20.

And yet, I still use my left eye for a camera viewfinder (or a microscope or a telescope or anything similar), and I always have. That’s kind of weird. I wonder what accounts for it?

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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