Research, what research?

Today, while looking through BBC website I came across this story about left and right handed people and the differences in their behaviour. The story is as follows:

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tayside_and_central/7708054.stm

Left-hand people ‘more inhibited’

People who are left-handed are more likely to get anxious or feel shy or embarrassed about doing or saying what they want, according to new research.

Those involved in the Abertay University study were given a behavioural test that gauges personal restraint and impulsiveness.

Researchers found left-handers tended to agree more with statements such as “I worry about making mistakes.”

They also agreed that “criticism or scolding hurts me quite a bit.”

In total, 46 left-handed people were compared with 66 right-handers.

‘Wiring differences’

The left-handers scored higher when it came to inhibition, especially when a situation was new or unusual. Women were also more held back than men.

All groups responded similarly to statements such as: “I often act on the spur of the moment” and “I crave excitement and new sensations.”

Dr Lynn Wright, who led the study in Dundee, believes the results could be due to wiring differences in the brains of left and right-handers.

“Left-handers are more likely to hesitate whereas right-handers tend to jump in a bit more,” she said.

“In left-handers the right half of the brain is dominant, and it is this side that seems to control negative aspects of emotion. In right-handers the left brain dominates.”
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What do we do in the name of ? Should we call this publishable research? How many left-handers after reading this will feel inhibited after this? How could we conclude about ‘brain wiring’ on the basis of the findings?

Boy, I am worried.

Would love to hear your views too on this.

2 Comments to “Research, what research?”

  1. Carole Seawert says :

    Surely 112 people isn’t a large enough sample? But the research did show that left handers are avid list writers and colur code things. That’s me a to a T!

  2. Dr. Paurav Shukla says :

    I somehow disagree Carole. First, because the relevant sample here is 46 people only (on which the actual conclusion is based). Second, the brain wiring suggestion is beyond the remit of the study and an able researcher would always avoid making comments beyond the scope of the research. Guessing is good but not when publishing findings. I would approach findings of such kind with extreme caution. These are the kinds of study which then get corrected every year. Don’t we get those ‘tea is healthy’ one year and ‘tea is unhealthy’ another year studies. Why not carry out a proper study with a strong focus on validity and reliability rather than half-baked research?

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