Patterns of Handedness and Socio-cultural Influences on Dextrality Amongst University of Nigeria Medical Students
There are three types of handedness with different prevalence rates reported from various parts of the world including Nigeria. The aim of the study was to establish the prevalence of handedness using the students of the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus as the study group. A modified Edinburgh Inventory was applied to 1200 students. Of the questionnaires returned, only those that were correctly filled, were analyzed. Of the 1200 questionnaires, 880 (73.33%) were analyzed. Three hundred and seventy six (42.7%) were females and 504 (57.3%) males. The ages of the subjects ranged from 18 to 28 with a mean age of 22.13 (+ 2.236) years. Eight hundred and twenty nine (94.2%) of the respondents were Igbos and 99.5% Christians. Overall, 3.94% were left handed, 8.43% mixed handed and 87.63% were right handed. More males were left handed than females. More than 10% of the respondents were forced to switch from left hand to right hand in their formative years. A higher percentage of females were affected by the forced hand switch, and the success rate was higher with females. The prevalence of left handedness compared favourably with reports from Nigeria, and other African and Europeans countries. Forced hand switch or forced dextrality probably plays a significant role in keeping the prevalence of left handedness low in our country, and may be partly responsible for the higher prevalence of left handedness in males than in females.
Key words: Handedness, Patterns, Medical students, Nigeria