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Hair Whorls and Handedness

Posted by on January 21, 2009

I’ve known for a while that there’s a correlation between the direction of hair whorling and handedness, i.e., that clockwise whorls are nearly perfectly indicative of being right-handed and counter-clockwise whorls are indicative of left-handedness or ambidexterity in about 50% of cases. Having noticed my son showing some preference for his left hand, such as for sucking his thumb, I was curious to note which direction his whorl goes. Imagine my surprise when I saw that DS Alex has two whorls – one going each direction!

If clockwise means righty and counter-clockwise means lefty or ambidextrous, what does a pair of whorls mean?

Two whorls?!

Anyone know what, if anything, this might be correlated with? Ambidexterity? I did a quick search at Scopus, but I didn’t find much. Counterclockwise whorls are rare, occuring in about 5% of people, and multiple whorls are even rarer. Apparently, that also means research on their significance is also rare. 🙁

Pointers to sound research on this would be appreciated. My curiosity is definitely piqued. 🙂