Previous work by Porac, Coren, and Searleman (1986) looked at overt attempts to change hand preference from the left to the right side. We extended this research by studying individuals who shifted their handedness from the left to the right side as well as a group who attempted a shift in the opposite direction (right to left). Comparisons of the two shift attempts revealed that the timing, method, and agent of change differed significantly for right versus left shifts. More right than left shifts were successful. Overall, most shift attempts were rated as unsuccessful because they did not result in a handedness classification consistent with the direction of the shift. Individuals classified as successful shifters, whether in the right or left direction, displayed a more ambihanded behavioural pattern than either unsuccessful shifters or the no shift control group. Evidence suggested that left-shift attempts were promoted by original ambihanded tendencies but that ambihandedness in successful right shifts stemmed from the partial success of the switch attempt.
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