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Friday, March 9, 2012

Are you Sinistral? (cont'd)

Two weeks ago I posted a request for pilots visiting this blog to participate in a survey, asking whether they were "left handed." I recognize (now, as I did then) that this is thoroughly unscientific. There is much more to handedness (or laterality or chirality) than which hand you use to pick up a pen. Just speaking for myself, I would be classified in a more sophisticated study as mixed-handed or cross dominant. But the question under consideration is: does the pilot community as a whole reflect the "handedness" of the general populace? Perhaps the survey result would be an indicator.

I leave it to you to decide whether the result is significant. Here's what emerged:

  • Total respondents: 91
  • Respondents self-identified as "left handed": 30
  • %'age of "left handed" respondents: 32%
  • %'age of the general populace "left handed": about 10%
  • Factor by which left handed pilots exceed general incidence of left handedness: about 3.2X
Actually, I'm surprised, having expected that the pilot community would be "handed" about like the general populace. Well, maybe not so much!

As vulnerable as this query is to confounding factors, it's hard to imagine a scenario that would explain away the entirety of excess left handedness among pilots reflected in the data. I have to conclude that pilots are, to a significant degree, more often left handed than "normal people."

2 comments:

Tyler Hoppenfeld said...

Completely plausable that pilots are more likely to be lefties, but it could also be that lefties reading this blog were just more likely to say "ooh, this is about me!" and take the survey.

Frank Van Haste said...

Like I said, Tyler...confounding factors. Still, don't think it explains away +220% deviation over norm.