This answer is yes, but why would they want to? History shows us that most left-handers were forced to write right-handed in the past. Primarily for negative connotations to the word left. There are damaging effects to forcing someone to become right-handed. It physically affects the hand you write with and how your brain is wired. However, if you are willing to learn to write right-handed, your brain may have an easier time rewiring itself to allow you to write right-handed with fewer problems.
Changing Handedness Changes the Brain
A study done by Kloppel of converted left-handers found how their brains are organized and how particular regions work changed with the switch of handedness. Some parts of the brain look like those of the natural left-hander. Other areas become more like that of a natural right-hander.
Typically, the hand you use to write with is controlled by the opposite side of your brain. There is more activity on this side of the brain when you move your fingers. People converting from left-handed to right-handed isn’t as straightforward. The activity in the brain doesn’t just switch to the opposite side of the brain because handedness changes.
The study tested natural right-handers, natural left-handers, and converts, having them press a button with one hand to respond to certain symbols. In addition, the study staff monitored the participants with an MRI.
The movement of the right hand of each participant was as expected. Right-handers’ brains had more activity on the left side, and left-handers had more activity on the right side. Those who were converted to right-handedness ended up having more activity in the left-hand side of their brains the more they became right-handed.
The second set of brain regions that involve planning movement refused to switch. These regions continued to act as though the converts were still writing left-handed with more brain activity.
Effects of Forced Right-handedness
First, born left-handers should be left to develop independently and be allowed to write left-handed. Forcing them to change to right-handed can have terrible effects in later life. Not to mention traumatic when they are forced and making their handwriting bad.
Writing with your dominant hand isn’t merely the physical act of controlling a pencil, but it also has to do with how the brain works. The brain’s hemispheres work alongside opposite sides of the body to keep things working smoothly. Therefore, forcing someone to change the dominant hand they were born with can confuse the brain and cause many ill effects.
Ill Effects of Being Forced into Right-handedness
Many people have these Primary problems due to multifaceted cerebral disturbance or damage that causes disturbances in memory for all three areas of information processing:
- Storage, recall, and encoding
- Hard to concentrate, causing early fatigue
- Problems in reading and spelling
- Spatial disorientation. Example: confusing left and right
- Speech problems, including stuttering
- Fine motor problems are visible in writing and other activities requiring precision.
These central issues can cause secondary problems making life even harder for those forced from their natural left-handedness into this right-handed nightmare.
- Bad handwriting
- Bad memory
- Defiance and provocative behavior
- Emotional problems lasting into adulthood
- Feelings of inferiority
- Neurotic personality
- Physical tiredness
- Shyness and being withdrawn
Not every one of these problems manifests in every person forced to use their right hand, but it gives you an idea of what can happen. Forcing someone to change against their will can have long-lasting negative consequences and shouldn’t happen.
What if You Want to Learn to Write Right-handed?
Well, that is a different story. You are still physically using your non-dominant hand to write. You are also changing the way your brain is wired. The difference is that you want to do this. Someone isn’t forcing you. You aren’t being made to do something you don’t want to do for a reason you don’t understand.
You can use your new skills with your non-dominant hand to make life easier. Also, if something happened and your dominant hand was injured, you’d still be able to write and do other tasks without teaching yourself now because you’d already have those skills.
So, can a left-hander write right-handed? The answer is yes. However, it takes more than just putting a pen in your right hand and writing. You’ll have to practice to perfect writing with your right hand. Not only do you change the hand you write with, but you also change the way your brain functions to make changing hands possible. It also stands to reason that if you want to change the hand you write with, you won’t end up with the problems that those forced to change hands have. What do you think? Do you have experience trying to change the hand with which you write? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.