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Conscious Cogn. 2004 Dec;13(4):730-45.

Handedness and the fringe of consciousness: strong handers ruminate while mixed handers self-reflect.

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Slippery Rock State University, Slippery Rock, PA 16057, USA.


Previous research found that mixed handers (i.e., those that are more ambidextrous) were more likely than strong handers to update their beliefs (Niebauer, Aselage, & Schutte, 2002). It was assumed that this was due to greater degrees of communication between the two cerebral hemispheres in mixed handers. Niebauer and Garvey (2004) made connections between this model of updating beliefs and metacognitive processing. The current work proposes that variations in interhemispheric interaction (as measured by degree of handedness) contribute to differences in consciousness, specifically when consciousness is used in rumination versus the metacognitive task of self-reflection. Using the Rumination-Reflection Questionnaire (Trapnell & Campbell, 1999), predictions were supported such that strong handedness was associated with self-rumination; whereas, mixed handedness was associated with increased self-reflection p values<.01, (N=255). James's (1890) concept of the "fringe of consciousness" is used to make connections between metacognition, updating beliefs, and self-reflection. Several studies are reviewed suggesting that mixed handers experience fringe consciousness to a greater degree than strong handers.

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