Dr. Stanley Coren

Upon completing his doctorate, Dr. Coren was convinced to go to New York by his Stanford supervisor, Dr. Leon Festinger (known for his interesting studies on cognitive dissonance), who needed only to say, “by the way, the building that houses the graduate faculty is three blocks away from the Marshall Chess Club.” Five years and many papers later, he moved to the University of British Columbia where he remains today.

At the University of British Columbia, Dr. Coren began looking into laterality, the preference of one side of the body over the other, like eye dominance (preferring to receive information with one eye over the other) and right or left handedness. He found that prenatal stress affected laterality and handedness in newborns. He also found that “handedness was a marker for a whole bunch of things, like susceptibility to diseases, and different problems with cognition.” Ultimately, Dr. Coren began to think handedness was a kind of predictor of how long someone would live, and published his results in a popular book titled The Left Hander Syndrome.