Embrace Your Brilliance

May 4, 2012

#Motivation – Approach or Avoid may depend on “Handedness”

Motivation may depend on which hand is your dominant hand

The way we use our hands may determine how emotions are organized in our brains, according to a new study led by Geoffrey Brookshire, a Ph.D. student in my lab at the New School for Social Research, published in PLoS ONE [1].

Motivation is a basic building block of human emotion and for decades scientists have believed that “approach” motivation is computed mainly in the left hemisphere of the brain, and “avoidance” motivation is computed mainly in the left hemisphere of the brain. By way of example:  Sword fighters of the past “approached” enemies wielding the sword in their dominant hand, and “avoided” injury by raising their shield with their nondominant hand.Humans tend to pull things toward them with their dominant hand, for instance an apple, and push away things that are obstacles (or in your way)  — a branch.

Brookshire startling results may change the way that depression and anxiety disorders are treated with brain stimulation.  Read more


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