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  #1    
Old April 25th, 2013, 03:42 AM
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Hello everybody,

in the following, I want to call attention to a topic that I find very important as the problem of converted left-handedness is barely known in society.

Some things beforehand:

1st: A converted left-hander is a left-handed person who, for whatever reason, writes with their right (non-dominant) hand. (I will get into detail about that later.)

2nd: Writing with the non-dominant hand is an interference with the brain and may lead to severe consequences. (Again, I will get into detail about that later.)

3rd: Handedness is determined at birth and cannot be changed! Converting of handedness does not result in a converting of brain dominance.

4th: Ambidextrousness does not exist, as only one side of the brain (hemisphere) can be dominant. (The right hemisphere is dominant with left-handed people and the left hemisphere is dominant with right-handed people.) Many people who call themselves ambidextrous are, in fact, converted left-handers.

5th: They say that at least 30% of the population is left-handed. Some experts even assume that 50% of the population is left-handed. Although 50% sounds a bit too farfetched, you see that there must be a lot of converted left-handed people living in society.


By conversion of handedness, many people think of forced measures (e.g. in kindergarten or at home) where adults try to "get rid" of a child's left-handedness by using violence.

Although this is no longer allowed nowadays, among children, teenagers and (young) adults, there's still a high number of unknown cases of converted left-handers, who most of the time, don't know anything about their left-handedness and assume to be right-handed. (You also call them pseudo right-handers)

Those children may not have been forced to use their right hand. Instead, they orientate themselves by their right-handed surroundings. They don't want to stand out, they don't want to draw others' attention on them and thus, they adapt themselves to their right-handed friends, family, educators etc.

Parents normally don't care for their child's handedness until the beginning of school. However, if a child has already converted themself before, he or she will learn to write with their right hand, as both parents and educators never recognized the child's left-handedness.

If, in some cases, parents give rise to doubts, doctors may suggest the child to choose their dominant hand for themself (as doctors don't know better). Many children are then unable to cope with this decision and choose the non-dominant hand.

No matter, if somebody was forced to use the non-dominant hand or decided to use the non-dominant hand on their own, this may result in consequences.

In the following, I'll list some of the possible consequences of converting handedness:

Possible primary consequences of converting handedness:

- memory disorders (especially in the recall of learned material)
- disturbances in concentration (being easily tired) -> may lead to burnout
- egasthenic problems or dyslexia (i.e. problems in reading and writing)
- spatial disorientation (uncertainty concerning the left and right)
- disorders in fine motor skills that manifest themselves in handwriting (bad/slow hand-writing)
- disturbances in speech (ranging from stammering through stuttering)

Possible secondary consequences of converting handedness:

- inferiority complexes
- insecurity
- introversion
- overcompensation through heightened performance (perfectionism)
- nail biting
- emotional problems (such as depressions, burnout etc.)
- disorders in the personality profile (you may not feel identical with yourself)

Many converted left-handers, who don't know about their converted handedness, may suffer from some of these consequences but can't explain why. In adulthood, some of them may seek professional help but as most therapists don't have a clue about the problems of a converted handedness, they may not be able to help at all.

Many converted left-handed people, who know that their handedness was converted, decide to go for a professional "reconversion". Reconversion means that you go back to using your left, dominant hand for writing, but also for other things.

There are so-called "left-hander counselors" where you can have your handedness tested and who may support your reconversion.

Reconversion may help get rid of the consequences I mentioned earlier. Some of the problems may disappear completely and some of them may decay. Reconversion also helps to find back to your left-handed identity which will make you feel more comfortable and may result in a better self-confidence.

There are also converted right-handers, but those are a lot more uncommon than converted left-handers. Nevertheless, converted right-handers may experience the same problems which occur with a converted left-handedness.

Well, that's it, for the most part. Feel free to ask me any questions. I hope, this topic will help someone.

I'm a converted left-hander myself and have devoted myself to this topic for more than 2 years.
During those 2 years, I've talked to many experts in this field and acquired knowledge that I want to share with others.
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Old April 25th, 2013, 04:53 AM
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I fall in this category as well, the catholic school I went to as a kid made me write with the right. I've always had horrible handwriting and some problems with reading, so this may explain a bit of it. I do thank you for posting this, good info for people like me.
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Old April 25th, 2013, 05:13 AM
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Hello Rickfields,

I'm sorry to hear that they made you write with your right hand. I know the struggle. My handwriting is extremely bad as well (with my right hand at least). I've learned to write with my left hand again and the handwriting looks a lot smoother and consistent. It feels a lot better. So, it's just a suggestion but you might also want to ask yourself whether it wouldn't be better if you could write with your left hand again. Anyway, I'm glad that I could help a little bit.
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Old April 25th, 2013, 05:15 AM
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I'll give you my story then and see what you think of it. I was supposedly born without any real dominant hand. A doctor examined me at an early age and said that I was capable of writing with either hand and told me to pick one. I ended up choosing my left hand because my brother is also left handed. Throughout my life I have found that there are certain things I can do better with my left hand, than with my right and vice versa.

From all the symptoms you've listed, the only ones I feel I can associate myself with are

- disorders in fine motor skills that manifest themselves in handwriting (bad/slow hand-writing)
- disturbances in speech (ranging from stammering through stuttering) [This one isn't too bad at all, but does happen sometimes]

So yeah, what would you deduce from that?
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Old April 25th, 2013, 05:48 AM
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Hi there, Drakow,

the doctor who examined you sounds like one of the many people who has absolutely no clue about handedness and the likes. This is no wonder, as like I said, the whole topic is not really present in society.

Everyone has a dominant hand. Since you say that you chose your left-hand for writing because your brother is left-handed as well, there is a possibility that you're a converted right-hander. I'm not saying you are but that you could be.

How old were you when the doctor examined you? Usually, at the age of 2, a child has found his/her dominant side.

What problems do you exactly have while writing? Do you have a bad handwriting or do you also make mistakes easily? Do you feel that writing makes you tired? Does your hand hurt?

Here's a tip: Have a look at old photos in which you are 2 or 3 years old, and examine the way you do things with each hand. You might find yourself doing things with your right or left hand a lot and thus, you might be able to draw a conclusion about your handedness.

Besides that, all I can tell you is that you may observe yourself very well. Do you do things which need a lot of precision with your right or left hand? If you want to catch a ball, which hand do you use? If you want to put a thread through a needle, which hand does what?

I hope, I could help you a little bit.
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Old April 25th, 2013, 06:31 AM
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Well I was probably somewhere around 5-7 years of age or something.

My handwriting is just plain bad haha. My left hand used to hurt as well after prolonged writing too. I ended up going to a tutor when I was young and she helped correct my handwriting and it was really good until I was forced to learn how to do "joined up" handwriting, after which it became crap again and has been ever since.

I throw a ball with my left hand, I can use a computer mouse with either just fine. I brush my teeth with my right hand. That's all I can think of for now.
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Old April 25th, 2013, 07:26 AM
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This all sounds really convincing, but I'd like to see some factual evidence to back up your claims about handedness and such. Your post is surprisingly lacking in that department and I'd like to see some evidence of research backing your claims.
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Old April 25th, 2013, 07:28 AM
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Being taught to use both hands is very common in sports.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8U2xkHOTvvw - Ambidextrous Pitcher Pat Venditte. He played college baseball at Creighton University. He's now in the New York Yankees farm system.

Ichiro Suzuki, naturally right handed, was taught to hit left handed by his father. To shorten the distance between him and first base.

Not to mention all the switch hitters in baseball.

Being ambidextrous is also important in basketball. For dribbling, layups, and dunks.
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Old April 25th, 2013, 07:57 AM
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Hello Pachy,

what factual evidence would you like to see? I've read lots of books regarding the topic, talked to experts etc. I'd like to give you more information but unfortunately, there are not many Internet websites regarding the topic of converted handedness in English. My opening post was a brief summary of all the knowledge I have gathered throughout the years to give people a nice overview about the topic. What exactly would you like to get more information about?

Here's a website, that explains the problems about a converted handedness: http://www.linkshaender-beratung.de/english/Problem.htm

Hey there, BraveNewWorld,

what I meant by "Ambidextrousness doesn't exist" is that every person has a dominant hand. This doesn't mean that it's impossible to get good at something with your non-dominant hand. But using your non-dominant hand for activities requires a lot more energy. In fact, writing with your non-dominant hand requires up to 30% more of your energy, than when writing with your dominant hand, which eventually leads to exhaustion and other consequences I listed above.

Other things you do with your non-dominant hand may not have such severe consequences but it still is more energy consuming than when you use your dominant hand.
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Old April 25th, 2013, 08:42 AM
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Could I get a source that's more Neutral Point of View? Something encyclopedic, or a medical journal article or research paper would be very useful to verify the legitimacy of the research in this field. It doesn't even have to be in english, I can run it through google translate and get the gist of what's being said and such.

Alternatively, if you have a degree of reasonable level and have done your own research, I might be able to take that on with a grain of salt if you state your own credentials.

I found this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bias_ag...-handed_people and this http://www.linkshaender-beratung.de/...Literature.htm which seem to be showing enough research since I was a child.

This topic is woefully under researched it seems, probably because of some biases.
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Last edited by Melody; April 25th, 2013 at 08:58 AM. Reason: Edited [again]
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Old April 25th, 2013, 10:14 AM
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As you said, the topic is indeed under researched. It surprised me even more when I saw that in the English speaking world, there is even less information regarding the topic. That's why I wanted to share my knowledge with you. I can completely understand your distrust but believe me, all of what I said is true and has been researched. In Germany, there's a huge community and various websites regarding the topic of converted left-handers.

Since you said that it didn't matter to you if it is in English or not, I'll show some German websites to you.

A general website about left-handedness and conversion. (That's where you will find most of what I said.)

http://translate.google.com/translat...ng.htm&act=url

" For the use of the wrong hands, the brain consumes 30% additional energy. When writing while all other regions of the brain involved are drawn into the unnatural stimulus sequences. The result is a disorder for which the grants throughout the life more energy must be expended unnecessarily long. Not every man can well bear this same burden. Some children react already in primary school with poor concentration, memory failure, speech blockages as mild stuttering or Sprechunwillen, clumsiness, confusion between left and right or with mild forms of dyslexia, but also with migraines or allergies, but especially with school displeasure. Others feel overwhelmed until high school, when others then it's become very difficult again in advanced adulthood, to identify the cause. "

Also something about reconversion:

http://translate.google.de/translate...ckschulung.htm

The next one is a homepage of a left-hander counselor where you will find a lot of information.

http://translate.google.de/translate...de%2Findex.htm

Well, I'm not a huge fan of Google Translator but I think it should get the message across. If you need anything else, let me know.
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Old April 25th, 2013, 11:40 AM
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I can easily write and draw with both hands.. Especially useful when drawing, as my right hand can do strokes my left can't.

Mostly use my left. It's my dominant, still.. Because of personal experience, using the other hand is something that can be trained like any other skill, the negative effects coming mostly from forced adaptation, like you mentioned.

Perhaps there is hope for Jamie Lannister after all.
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Old April 25th, 2013, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Chatot Lover View Post
Hello Rickfields,

I'm sorry to hear that they made you write with your right hand. I know the struggle. My handwriting is extremely bad as well (with my right hand at least). I've learned to write with my left hand again and the handwriting looks a lot smoother and consistent. It feels a lot better. So, it's just a suggestion but you might also want to ask yourself whether it wouldn't be better if you could write with your left hand again. Anyway, I'm glad that I could help a little bit.
When I do write with my left, the handwriting is as messy as the right hand. It feels awkward to write with the left, but at the same time it feels a bit natural. I golf and play guitar right handed, but I have had some success doing both with the left.
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Old April 25th, 2013, 01:38 PM
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I've heard of people being made to use their right hand when they're left-handed, but that was mostly from older people who had that done to them in school a while back. I've never heard of the suggestion that 30% (let alone 50%) of people are left-handed and have in one way or another trained themselves to use their right hand.

I don't doubt that using your non-dominant hand can cause problems for people, but I don't think anyone should self-diagnose themselves based on the criteria provided. I hate to see someone convince themselves that some or all of their problems can be solved/blamed on which hand they use when there are plenty of other possible explanations.

I'm also skeptical about the claim that there are no ambidextrous people. I've seen people who seemingly write, etc. just as well with either hand, though they tend to stick to one hand for certain tasks.
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Old April 25th, 2013, 07:50 PM
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I do not believe your statement that "everyone has a dominant side," nor do I believe your statement that "using the non-dominant side" can lead to, for lack of a better term, "anything negative you can possibly think of." Several reasons.

1. I've yet to see you cite a peer-reviewed study that has appeared in a medical journal of any significance to the effect of either statement.
2. Your "list of consequences" are far too common and could easily be attributed to pretty much anything from cancer to "bad chi."
3. Despite the previous point, I still experience none of your "primary" symptoms with any regularity and only one of your "secondary" symptoms, which are so common that I'd be surprised if someone didn't have at least one. That particular "symptom" could be attributed to, again, pretty much anything (including my personality).

For the record, my handedness varies based on the task I'm doing, and I have no degradation of skill nor cognitive function regardless of which side I happen to be favoring. Some tasks I do (like playing the violin or playing video games with keyboard and mouse) require me to do different things with both hands, which I'm perfectly capable of doing without confusing left and right or biting my nails.

This whole thing reminds me of scam-artists I've heard of who reel you in by listing off a bunch of common symptoms that pretty much anyone has at least one or two of, then proposing that they can cure it with some sort of cure-all remedy. Only in this case, instead of getting rich off of it, I can't even tell what you're getting. Validation? Acceptance? I have no clue. Maybe you're genuinely convinced this is true because you've read a lot about it. There's also a lot of literature out there denying climate change; that doesn't mean it's not happening.

I have no doubt that some people could experience severe problems if they (a) do have a dominant side and (b) are forced to use the other, but I do doubt that (a) no one has a dominant side and (b) everyone who uses their non-dominant side will have problems (especially ones as common as you say).
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Old April 26th, 2013, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Scarf View Post
I don't doubt that using your non-dominant hand can cause problems for people, but I don't think anyone should self-diagnose themselves based on the criteria provided. I hate to see someone convince themselves that some or all of their problems can be solved/blamed on which hand they use when there are plenty of other possible explanations.
I agree. I wouldn't recommend anyone to self-diagonse themselves either. If somebody was to really doubt their handedness, he/she should have their handedness tested by a professional. However, sometimes, it can be very obvious to "recognize" a converted left-hander. For example, if somebody does everything with their left hand, except for writing.
Many of the problems I listed above may also have a different background and cannot solely be deduced by a converted handedness.


Quote:
Originally Posted by twocows View Post
I do not believe your statement that "everyone has a dominant side," nor do I believe your statement that "using the non-dominant side" can lead to, for lack of a better term, "anything negative you can possibly think of." Several reasons.

1. I've yet to see you cite a peer-reviewed study that has appeared in a medical journal of any significance to the effect of either statement.
2. Your "list of consequences" are far too common and could easily be attributed to pretty much anything from cancer to "bad chi."
3. Despite the previous point, I still experience none of your "primary" symptoms with any regularity and only one of your "secondary" symptoms, which are so common that I'd be surprised if someone didn't have at least one. That particular "symptom" could be attributed to, again, pretty much anything (including my personality).

For the record, my handedness varies based on the task I'm doing, and I have no degradation of skill nor cognitive function regardless of which side I happen to be favoring. Some tasks I do (like playing the violin or playing video games with keyboard and mouse) require me to do different things with both hands, which I'm perfectly capable of doing without confusing left and right or biting my nails.

This whole thing reminds me of scam-artists I've heard of who reel you in by listing off a bunch of common symptoms that pretty much anyone has at least one or two of, then proposing that they can cure it with some sort of cure-all remedy. Only in this case, instead of getting rich off of it, I can't even tell what you're getting. Validation? Acceptance? I have no clue. Maybe you're genuinely convinced this is true because you've read a lot about it. There's also a lot of literature out there denying climate change; that doesn't mean it's not happening.

I have no doubt that some people could experience severe problems if they (a) do have a dominant side and (b) are forced to use the other, but I do doubt that (a) no one has a dominant side and (b) everyone who uses their non-dominant side will have problems (especially ones as common as you say).
I don't really understand what is so hard to "believe". There's nothing to "believe" in or not about this topic. It's not like I simply claimed things that haven't been approved. All of what I've said in my opening post has been approved by professionals. There's a variety of professional literature regarding the topic in which you will find all the things I've stated.

Professionals agree that there's no "true" ambidextrousness. This is because, there are two hemispheres of which one is always dominant. As one hemisphere is always dominant, a person's handedness is determined as well. A "true" ambidextrous person would e.g. reach for a glass with both hands simultaneously. Normally, this doesn't happen.

I know a left-hander counselor who has been testing people's handedness for over 10 years and she really has tested plenty of people. Many of them claimed to be ambidextrous but during the test, she has always been able to determine every person's dominant side. She says that she has never encountered a "true" abidextrous person. Most of the people who claimed to be ambidextrous were converted lefties.

I used to think that I was ambidextrous as well because I could do everything with both hands. When I first heard of the term "converted left-handers" and heard that ambidextrousness doesn't exist, I felt very relieved. Over time, I started to realize that I must have converted myself when I was a child. Some memories came back which confirmed my hunch.

Really, being a converted lefty is hard. When you first realize that you're converted, you feel very happy to have found out the truth. When I started writing with my left hand again, I felt so overwhelmed. I felt like myself. When you're a lefty and write with your right hand, it feels like there are blockades in your head. I know many people won't understand this but handedness is a big part of one's identity. And if this identiy is somehow "broken", you don't quite feel like yourself and don't feel comfortable. I always knew that something wasn't "right" but couldn't tell what it was.

The main reason I started this thread was because I wanted to help people. I figured there must be a lot of people like me who know that something isn't right but can't tell what it is. It's important to raise awareness in order to help people. And that's what I'm doing.

I understand what you say about the problems being very common in general and may not have something to do with a converted handedness. This is correct.

However, problems with writing are very often associated with other things and many people overlook the possibility of a converted handedness being the reason for this problem. I think it's important to raise awareness that a converted handedness can be a reason for those problems. Like I said in my opening post, many adults see a therapist but can't be helped as therapists don't know the problem of a converted handedness. If it was common knowledge what a converted handedness can cause, I believe, many people could get better treatment.

I'm not implying that every converted person has to suffer from one or some of the problems mentioned above. But especially problems with writing and confusion of right and left have been extremely common in converted left-handers.

The reason why depression and burnout are often a cause of converted handedness is easy to explain: Because of always using the wrong hand for a procedure as complex as writing, people get tired, exhausted very easily. Like I said above, writing with the wrong hand costs 30% more energy than it normally would.

Again, I know that all of these consequence I listed above can have a different cause than a converted handedness. But it's important to make people realize that a converted handedness can cause these symptoms as this is almost completely unknown in society.

Well, if you are convinced that you're ambidextrous, then I won't tell you differently. I can only tell you my experiences and knowledge and can't speak for everyone else. However, professionals do agree that ambidextrousness normally doesn't occur in people.
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Old April 27th, 2013, 11:44 AM
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snip
You talk a lot about professionals, but have yet to counter the very first point I made.

1. I've yet to see you cite a peer-reviewed study that has appeared in a medical journal of any significance to the effect of either statement.

Again, I have no doubt there can be problems with people being forced to use a non-dominant hand, but I don't believe everyone is going to experience problems, nor do I think everyone has a dominant hand to begin with.
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Old April 27th, 2013, 02:33 PM
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Handedness is inherited, and there are several models that explain it. Here are some abstracts documenting it:

http://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.myaccess...pubmed/1839378
http://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.myaccess...pubmed/9463268

It's quite accepted that the brain has lateral specializations, and this translates to handedness as well. While handedness is a continuous variable and the brain is plastic, that is not to say that there is no dominant side to begin with. Much of the population are genetically right handed, some of it left-handed, and presumably a few with relative symmetry. This study cites another that came up with 8% of the sample of adult brains showing no asymmetry, with 82% left-biased and 10% right-biased:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...2839329090032J (you'll probably only get access to the abstract)

The study goes on to describe morphological differences between the hemispheres - it's not simply that the two halves do different things, they have different sizes and connections for their component parts depending on the individual. Anyways, most people do have a dominant side, and while handedness and asymmetry are both continuous I think the number shows a good ground to conclude that most people do have a dominant side (even if we can't say all, but since you rarely can say all in science to begin with, it's not much of a point anyways).

A forced conversion of handedness can lead to anxiety and stress, which would explain a lot of the symptoms. It's similar to any other kind of parenting that runs counter to the child's disposition, leading to anxiety and stress. Prolonged anxiety can open up the possibility of developing mood or other psychological disorders. Anxiety and stress is pretty well known in psychology to cause anything negative you can think of - that is uncontested. If you learned to work with both hands in an organic way where anxiety and stress were not involved, then evidently plasticity did its thing.

The problem here isn't every vs. many, it's that parents don't understand it's a thing and when they try to hard to get what they want, very rarely will the child's mental health and development be appreciated. If you want to be super-strict, you could say handedness conversion isn't the root cause of those symptoms, but relentless anxiety and stress from the lack of validation, acceptance, self-esteem and so on resulting from said conversion.

I just finished my PSY100 exam and even though I don't have primary research, the topics were covered as having a general consensus in the psychological field. I'm not going to try and find the original papers for that - they probably go back several decades, if not a century. Psychology isn't the hardest science anyways, but a lot of the models proposed do have practical value in the form of developing new treatments and for that they're worth accepting. You can never prove something in psychology - due to our limited, though expanding, understanding of the brain as well as confounding through dealing with the human factor. But, you can supply evidence and a plausible mechanism in a that conforms to that evidence is all you need to create a useful model.
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Cadance.

Last edited by Kanzler; April 27th, 2013 at 02:38 PM.
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