jacki lyden

We hope you Lefties are celebrating today.

Happy Left Handers’ Day!

NPR’s reporting on left-handedness covers two main topics: the causes of left-handedness and successful people who are left-handed (mostly presidents and baseball pitchers). 

This story, from a special series, Science Outside of the Box, takes an interdisciplinary approach to the question of left-handedness.

NPR’s Jacki Lyden talks to researcher Chris McManus who examined archived film footage of British people waving at the camera to see what he could learn about left-handedness, society, and life in the Victorian era. 

Original airdate 9/22/2007.

DAVIS: My theory is that since all anybody has seen, when they are growing up, is this big imbalance - that the movies that they’ve watched are about, let’s say, 5 to 1, as far as female presence is concerned - that’s what starts to look normal. And let’s think about - in different segments of society, 17 percent of cardiac surgeons are women; 17 percent of tenured professors are women. It just goes on and on. And isn’t that strange that that’s also the percentage of women in crowd scenes in movies? What if we’re actually training people to see that ratio as normal so that when you’re an adult, you don’t notice?

LYDEN: I wonder what the impact is of all of this lack of female representation.

DAVIS: We just heard a fascinating and disturbing study, where they looked at the ratio of men and women in groups. And they found that if there’s 17 percent women, the men in the group think it’s 50-50. And if there’s 33 percent women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men.

The disappearance of Michael Rockefeller in November 1961 was an international incident: Rockeller, the 23-year-old scion of one of the world’s richest families, had gone to New Guinea to collect native art for his father’s newly founded Museum of Primitive Art in New York. And then, he vanished.

His fate was an unsolved mystery – until now. Carl Hoffman has spent years tracking the story, searching documents and living amongst the Asmat, a Stone Age people known for their cannibalism as well as their beautiful carving skills. His new book is Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art.

Check out Hoffman’s interview with NPR’s Jacki Lyden.