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Hand dominance and hand use behaviour reported in a survey of 2437 Koreans

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Most tools, utensils, office equipment, home appliances, clothes, medical instruments, sporting goods, weapons and public facilities are made for people who are right-handed. Many left-handed people have to endure a certain amount of inconvenience or difficulty in carrying out daily activities in such an environment. In this study, 2437 Korean male and female participants were randomly selected to collect a variety of data on hand dominance and hand preference when handling diverse products and facilities. Their responses in a questionnaire survey revealed that 5.8% were left-handed and 7.9% were ambidextrous. The younger participants who were from teens to 39 years reported higher percentages of left-handedness than those over 40 years, with those in their thirties reporting the highest proportion of left-handedness (7.3-7.6%) for both men and women. A slightly higher percentage of the male participants (5.9%) said that they were left-handed than did the female participants (5.6%). However, the percentage who were ambidextrous varied with age group, but overall there was a higher percentage of women (8.3%) than of men (7.6%). The analysis of hand use behaviour revealed that the right-handed and ambidextrous people had a tendency to use their right hands more for actions that required accuracy than those that required force. The left-handed people had a strong tendency to use their left hands more often when making a forceful action than for one that required accuracy. Derived from these results, the conclusion is that, depending on their hand dominance, people seem to use their hands differently when they handle objects or use facilities, which should be considered in the design of hand-controlled devices. Depending on which hand is the dominant one, people seem to use their hands differently when they handle objects or use facilities. The left-handed tend to use their left hands more with force-required motions than with accuracy-required motions, while ambidextrous and right-handed people use their right hands more with accuracy-required motions than with force-required motions. Designers of products and facilities will find the results of this study useful for developing hand-controlled devices and systems.
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Keywords: ambidextrous; dominant hand; hand dominance; handedness; left-handed; right-handed

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Occupational Therapy, Dongshin University, Naju, Chonnam, Korea 2: Division of Business Administration, Chosun University, Gwangju, Korea

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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