How Stress Creates Left-Handed People

Train in vain
Creative Commons License photo credit: Strandell

 

Are you left-handed or know someone who is?

Are there left-handed people in your family?

Left-handed people have been treated with suspicion for centuries.

Left handedness has always been with us. Historically it has been perceived as an anomaly or defect which meant that left-handed children were “trained” out of left-handedness.

Research On Left-Handedness

Because of concern about left-handedness, there has been much research done about left-handedness over the years. The research on left-handedness has been helpful because it is showing that left-handedness is not an isolated trait. It has, in fact, been correlated with many other conditions and diseases.

By investigating the relationship between left handedness and other conditions, the research community has unwittingly provided us with clues to the emerging identity of the highly sensitivity. The HSP trait  was named by Elaine Aron, Ph.D. in her book, The Highly Sensitive Person, in the 1990′s.

One of the most important research studies was conducted by Dr. Norman Geschwind. His work, often called the Geschwind Theory, shows that there is a relationship between maternal testosterone, lefthandedness, and genetic diseases.

What that means is that when a pregnant woman has very high stress levels, the testosterone in her body rises which causes the fetus to develop differently.  This condition can create left-handedness, the highly sensitive trait, and many genetic diseases, which can coexist. The New York Times profiled the Geschwind study in their article: Left vs. Right: Brain function Tied to Hormone in the Womb.

Another excellent resource for highly sensitive people on the relationship between left handedness and genetic diseases is the H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P, written by David Ritchey. This book discusses the relationship between prenatal testosterone due to stress, and the development of the highly sensitive person. David Ritchey cites the Geschwind Theory along with other research including his own showing the prevalence of left-handedness and genetic disorders among highly sensitive people or anomalous sensitive people  - his name for highly sensitive people.

Stress, Left-handedness And High Sensitivity

The human race has been suffering with high stress levels for centuries. When that stress affected pregnant women, humans were born with a wide variety of conditions including high sensitivity and left-handedness.  Over time, these and other genetic conditions have been passed down from one generation to another.

The research on left-handedness is providing us with the causal link between stress, maternal testosterone levels and the many human illnesses and conditions they create.  It would be helpful if it could make us more aware of how important managing stress is and the impact of ignoring it.

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Are Left-Handed People More Likely To Be Highly Sensitive?

writing © by Vassilis Online

If you have an allergic reaction to a lot of noise are you highly sensitive?

If you can’t stand crowds, are you highly sensitive?

If you are left-handed, are you highly sensitive?

Maybe.

The Elusive Trait Of High Sensitivity

The highly sensitive trait is not easy to pin down.

There are many different types of sensitivity associated with being an HSP, and they can vary in intensity. It is hard to identify a highly sensitive person because:

  1. the many different types of sensitivities can make it hard to identity
  2. many sensitivities can coexist on one person
  3. many highly sensitive people have characteristics like left-handedness that are not obviously associated with being highly sensitive
  4. many HSP’s also have other medical conditions like lupus, diabetes and learning difficulties
  5. childhood abuse can make the symptoms worse and add psychological conditions that may mask the HSP condition.

Why It Is Hard To Identify Highly Sensitive People

The manifestations of the highly sensitive trait can be so diverse that it is sometime hard to see sensitivity as one trait. In the past, people who were highly sensitive were often considered damaged in some way.

Throughout the centuries, the characteristics of sensitivity were often treated as isolated symptoms rather than one of a family of possible sensitivity characteristics. Lack of knowledge made identification of the HSP trait difficult.

Today we have a different challenge. We have – although only recently – identified the highly sensitive trait, thanks to the work of Elaine Aron, Ph.D. and Dr. Norman Geschwind.

However, our culture has so much overstimulation and toxicity it can be hard to identify whether or not you are in fact highly sensitive. Perhaps you are manifesting the symptoms of being overstressed.  Overstimulation can affect anyone including non-HSP’s. Perhaps you are suffering the impact of other forms of toxicity. The damage from water, food and workplace toxicity are real to everyone not just HSP’s.

So how do we separate out those who are  highly sensitive from those non-HSP’s suffering from toxic overload?

How The Research On Left-Handedness Helps Identify HSP’s

Left handedness has always been with us. Historically it was perceived as an anomaly and a defect so as children, left handed people were “trained” out of left handedness. Because of concern about left handedness, there has been much research done on left handed people over the years.

Dr. Norman Geschwind’s research from the 1980′s, often called the Geschwind Theory, gives us a clue on how the highly sensitive trait develops. He identified the relationship between maternal testosterone, lefthandedness, and genetic diseases.

According to his study, stress during pregnancy increases testosterone in the mother causing the fetus to develop differently. The result can be any number of conditions and genetic diseases including left-handedness. (The New York Times profiled the study in their article: Left vs. Right: Brain function Tied to Hormone in the Womb.)

The research on left-handedness over the years has been helpful because lefthandedness has been correlated with many other conditions and diseases. In investigating the relationship between left handedness and other conditions, the research community has unwittingly been providing us with clues to the highly sensitive trait.

It is only since Elaine Aron, Ph.D. wrote The Highly Sensitive Person in the 1990′s that we had a name to go with the condition that left handedness was pointing us to.

One of the best resources for highly sensitive people on the relationship between left handedness and genetic diseases is the H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P,written by David Ritchey. It shows the relationship between prenatal testosterone in the mother due to stress, and the creation of the highly sensitive person. He cites the Geschwind Theory along with other research including his own showing the prevalence of lefthandedness and genetic disorders among highly sensitive people or anomalous sensitive people  - his name for highly sensitive people.

Of course, the highly sensitive condition can also be inherited one the genetic profile exists in a family and frequently is.

Identifying Highly Sensitive People

There are a number of ways to determine if you are highly sensitive. Many quizzes are available on the internet which help individuals identify their sensitivity. HSP’s have a set of traits related to their make-up that sets them apart from non-HSP’s. They work differently, process information differently, and experience life differently.  The quizzes are a great place to start.

Another way to identify the trait is through an investigation of your family history. Do you have any genetic conditions that show up in the family? Although a genetic condition is not proof that an individual is an HSP, it may show that there has been at one time a pregnancy in the family where the mother had the kind of stress that caused a genetic condition to develop.

It is worth investigating your family history to get an idea for genetic transfer of health conditions. Taking a quiz can help as well. If you think that you may be an HSP, it is worth seeking the help of an advisor experienced in helping HSP’s develop skills at handling their sensitivity.

Motivation And Your Brain: What You May Not Know

 

Do you seem to have different motivations that others?

Do you have respond differently than others to similar events and stimuli? Check your brain.

It may hold an important clue.

Motivation is an important subject, one that has been the subject of intense interest for thousands of years. Human societies tend to create a profile of “normal behavior”, which drives expectations, rules and the reward/punishment system used to control the population. It also drives the economy. So definitions about what people are like have important consequences.

Motivation has been defined for many years as either approach or avoidance. It is also known as the fight or flight response. The conventional wisdom has been that the approach motivation comes from the left hemisphere and that the avoidance motivation comes from the right hemisphere.

Conventional wisdom treats left brained behavior as the norm. Might we call that extroversion?

Recent research sheds some new light on conventional wisdom about motivation. According to a new study recent study published in PLoS ONE by psychologists Geoffrey Brookshire and Daniel Casasanto of The New School for Social Research in New York and publicized in Medical News Today, motivation is not a cut and dried matter of the hemispheres of the brain.

Apparently handedness plays a major role in motivation. According to Medical News Today, “Brookshire and Casasanto’s study challenges this idea, showing that a well-established pattern of brain activity, found across dozens of studies in right-handers, completely reverses in left-handers.”

Most highly sensitive people are more right brained than left brained. In addition, left-handedness is also associated with the highly sensitive trait since highly sensitive people can be left-handed or have left-handedness in their families. This study demonstrates that the differences between extroverts and introverts are not simply differences of personality.

Up until now, left hemisphere neural stimulation has been used to treat depression and anxiety, two conditions associated with being highly sensitive. This study suggests that a change in neural stimulation to the right hemisphere might be more productive.

Perhaps it will. Of course, we might want to consider letting people be different rather than to try to make everyone the same. Perhaps then we would not have so much depression and anxiety.

What Causes the HSP Trait?

 


mützig
Creative Commons License photo credit: Fotosafarines

What causes the HSP trait? In the 1980′s the findings of an important medical study were released.  The study laid a biological and scientific basis for understanding the highly sensitive trait.

Dr. Norman Geschwind, a neurologist at Harvard Medical School, conducted a study of 3000 people with Dr. Peter Behan, a neurologist at the University of Glasgow.  He was attempting to discover the correlation between left handedness, learning disorders and genetic diseases.  The report, titled  “Cerebral Dominance” revealed his findings.

Apparently what causes the HSP trait is stress during pregnancy which sets a chain of events in motion that results in changes to the development of the child.  Higher levels of testosterone in the mother caused by stress cause the fetus to develop differently because the testosterone creates reserve lateralization of the brain. Reverse lateralization of the brain slows the left brain’s development as a result of the increased testosterone and advances a greater developed right brain.

One result is that brain functions may be located in atypical places in the brain -an example would be language skills changed to a location in the right brain;  speech problems may be a result.  Another result is a greater chance of  left-handedness, a known characteristic of highly sensitive people.  Since each side of the brain controls the opposite handed, handedness located in the right brain results in left-handedness – an HSP effect that is more pronounced in males than females.

The study that Dr. Geschwind did with Dr. Behan showed left-handed people were 2 and 1/2 more times more likely to have autoimmune disorders and 10 times more likely to have learning disabilities.  Near relatives of left-handed people can also be affected and may acquire HSP traits.  Apparently there is a familial genetic basis for these conditions so that any family member can be right handed and also experience learning difficulties, autoimmune disorders and other human genetic diseases because the family has a history of left-handedness and the highly sensitive trait.  It is possible that what causes the HSP trait in some individuals is a familial genetic condition, possibly from a prior generation where stress during pregnancy resulted in the birth on an HSP child.

It is amazing that stress can be so powerful that it can cause a human being to become a different person – that it can effect such a powerful change in a human being.  Violence and the threat of violence are bad enough under ordinary circumstance.  When they occur during pregnancy, a human being can be born with a variety of sensitivities as well as any number of genetic diseases.  That’s a lot of damage!  What causes the HSP trait is stress.  In a world of 7 billion people, reducing stress would seem to be a humane solution to the consequences of excess stress.