Those of you who follow me over at Goodreads know that I am currently making my way through a book called The Puzzle of Left-handedness by Rik Smits.
In due course I will probably drop a short review of it here, but when I was reading today’s chapter, I thought to myself, “I can’t not share this bit”.
So today’s oddity comes from the chapter entitled Other Asymmetries and Preferences.
Mr Smits is talking of our tongues. Yes, we only have one, but apparently we may have a side preference. Here is how you find out*.
Some people do indeed seem to have a preferred side. In normal circumstances we’re not aware of having a tongue preference, but it’s easy to identify. The trick is to place one side of the tongue, then the other, gently between the molars and hold it there while singing your national anthem. The tongue side that is free when the words of the song take the least effort to sing and the result sounds best is the preferred side. Sadly no information is available as to how many people have a clear preference, what proportion of people are right- or left-tongued, or whether there is any connection between that figure and the proportion of left- and right-handers.
Okay, so I tried this. The national anthem is never safe with me, tongue clenched between molars or not. But by the end of my attempts I could not discern a strong tongue preference. Perhaps I require an independent audience to adjudicate, so long as I promise to ply them with earache treatments afterwards.
So, do you have a tongue side preference? Shall we take a poll to see if we can help Mr Smits out on his lack of information.
I am a right-hander and I have no obvious tongue preference – what about you?
* I absolutely swear that I am not making this up. It is on page 205 of the book. Check it out at your library if you do not believe me.