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Atten Percept Psychophys. 2009 Oct;71(7):1641-8. doi: 10.3758/APP.71.7.1641.

The advantage of being left-handed in interactive sports.

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  • 1Department of Sport Psychology, University of Münster, Horstmarer Landweg 62B, 48149 Münster, Germany. n.hagemann@uni-muenster.de


As compared with their prevalence in the general population, left-handers are overrepresented in the expert domain of many interactive sports. This study examined to what extent this is due to negative perceptual frequency effects--that is, whether the greater frequency of tennis matches with right-handed opponents makes it possible to discriminate the stroke movements of right-handed players more precisely. Fifty-four right-handed and 54 left-handed males in three equal-sized groups of varying levels of tennis expertise (national league experts, local league intermediates, and novices) completed a tennis anticipation test in which they had to predict the subsequent direction of an opponent's temporally occluded tennis strokes on a computer screen. The results showed that all three groups were better at predicting the direction of strokes by right-handed players. This supports the hypothesis that the overrepresentation of left-handers in the expert domain is partly due to perceptual frequency effects.

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