Mirror reading in right- and left-handers

Tankle, R. & Heilan, K. “Mirror Reading in right- and left-handers. Brain and Language Volume 17, Issue 1, September 1982, 124-132.

“…left-handers may be superior at reading mirror words because they can more easily reverse their scanning pattern.”

(Abstract) In mirror-reading, words are read from right to left and letters are read in a reverse right-to-left orientation.

In one experiment we compared the ability of normal right- and left-handed subjects to mirror-read and found that the left-handers made fewer errors and could read mirror print more rapidly. In a second experiment we attempted to learn whether there is a hemifield superiority for reading mirror words and whether there are any differences between left- and right-handers in a hemifield.

We found that although both right- and left-handers more rapidly detected mirror words projected to the left visual half-field, there were no differences between groups. However, in the right visual half-field, the performance of left-handers was superior to that of the right-handers.

The results of the hemifield study suggest that left-handers may be superior at reading mirror words because they can more easily reverse their scanning pattern.


a University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

b the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Gainesville, Florida, USA

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