Information about left-handed geologists: results

A week ago I asked you all to provide me with some data about left-handedness in Geologists. I was very pleased with the response and I thought it was about time to collate the results.

Twitter: a lot of you replied by Twitter. This was enormously helped by Chris Rowan lending a hand in spreading the word. He also captured it all in Storify.

These results are: 11 left, 17 right and 5 ambidextrous.

Blog comments and online form: Those of you who are non-tweeps (and one who is, who wasn’t double-counted) gave me information in the comments or on a Google form I set up.

These results are: 11 left, 11 right and 2 ambidextrous which added to Twitter data gives 39% left, 49% right and 12% ambidextrous. This is rather close to my guess of 40%. Too close perhaps?

Estimates of proportions: The chances of sampling bias on this data is rather high. Are left-handers more likely to click on a link with left-handed in the title? Of course we are, but this is impossible to quantify. Many of you provided another, perhaps more valuable form of data in estimates or counts of the number of left-handers in groups of geologists. Since you are all good scientists I’ll assume there is zero sampling bias on this data. The total sample size here is 205, of whom 43 are lefties (21%). No ambidextrous people mentioned.

Adding these two sets of data (adding ambidextrous and leftie together) gives a headline of 27% of Geologists are not right-handed.

Some of you gave percentages with no total. These were: 12.5-20%, 15-25% and “about a half”. Again this is in the same ball-park. I have two conclusions:

Social media is fantastic, especially with geologists involved.

Around a quarter of geologists are left-handed and they may be unusually ambidextrous too.

More research required, ideally of the rigorous sort, but there is enough data here to justify it. I’ll email my psychologist contact back…

Categories: sinister

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  21. David says:

    Happy left-handed day. I just came across your posts.
    I am another left-handed geologist. Currently enrolled as a PhD student I teach structural geology to undergrads. I must not that last year on our structural geology trip 4 / 4 instructors on the trip were south-paws.

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