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Brain & Nervous System Health Center

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Cell Phone Use May Reveal Your 'Dominant Brain'

People with left-brain dominance tend to listen with right ear, and vice-versa, study finds


Ninety percent of those polled were right-handed, and 68 percent used their right ear, 25 percent used their left ear and 7 percent used both ears.

The story was similar among the left-handed people: 72 percent used their left ear, 23 percent used their right ear and 5 percent used both ears.

The team concluded that there is an association between cellphone handling habits and brain dominance, with right-ear cellphone use typically indicating left-brain dominance, and vice versa.

"We're pretty confident in our results," Seidman said. "Basically, if your speech and language centers are in the left side of the brain -- which for most people they are -- a cellphone conversation is going to sound better in your right ear."

"The next question is if this information may help us figure out whether or not cellphone use is associated with cancer risk," he said.

On that front, Seidman suggested that, if there was such an association, there would be a much greater incidence of right-sided brain, head and neck cancer than currently is the case, given that nearly 80 percent of all people use their right ear to talk on their phones.

"But the question of cancer risk and cellphone use is very controversial," he said. "We just don't know yet. Much more work needs to be done."

Dr. Joe Verghese, a professor of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York City, suggested that it remains possible that other variables could influence the way people choose to handle their cellphones.

"This is certainly a very interesting study," Verghese said. "But it could also be that right-handed people, for example, simply reach for their cellphone with their dominant hand, and then naturally feel more comfortable continuing to keep it and use it on their right side because it would feel awkward to pick up a phone with your right hand and then switch it over to your left side.

"If that's the case, this could actually be about motor dominance more than auditory or language dominance," he said.

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