# Handedness and Mathematics: Toward a More Comprehensive Model

- Giovanni Sala,
*University of Liverpool, UK*
- Martina Bolognese,
*University of Milan, ITA*
- Giulia Barsuola,
*University of Milan, ITA*
- Michela Signorelli,
*University of Milan, ITA*
- Fernand Gobet,
*University of Liverpool, UK*

## Abstract

The relationship between handedness and mathematical abilities is
controversial. Whilst some researchers have claimed that left-handers are gifted
in mathematics and strong right-handers perform the worst in mathematical tasks,
it has been more recently proposed that mixed-handers are actually the most
disadvantaged group.
To disentangle these discrepancies, we conducted five experiments in several
Italian schools (total participants: N = 2,308) involving students of different
ages (6 to 17 years) and a range of mathematical tasks. The results showed that
(a) the percentage of variance in mathematics scores explained by handedness was
moderate (about 5%) but statistically significant, and (b) the shape of the
relationship between handedness and mathematical ability depended on age, task,
and gender.
We concluded that the different outcomes reported in the literature probably
reflected the dissimilarities between the studies about the above variables.
Therefore, a more comprehensive model is needed, which explains how these
variables interact.

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