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An Observation and Explanation

  It is worth looking at one or two aspects of the way a mother behaves towards her baby. The usual fondling, cuddling and cleaning requite little comment, but the position in which she holds the baby against her body when resting is rather revealing. Careful studies have shown the fact that 80 per cent of mothers hold their infants in their left arms, holding them against the left side of their bodies. If asked to explain the significance of this preference most people reply that it is obviously the result of the predominance of right-handedness in the population. By holding the babies in their left arms, the mothers keep their dominant arm free for manipulations. But a detailed analysis shows that this is not the case. True, there is a slight difference between right-handed and left-handed females; but not enough to provide an adequate explanation. It emerges that 83 per cent of right-handed mothers hold the baby on the left side, but so do 78 per cent of left-handed mothers. In other words, only 22 per cent of the left-handed mothers have their dominant hands free for actions. Clearly there must be some other, less obvious explanation.

  The only other clue comes from the fact that the heart is on the left side of the mother's body. Could it be that the sound of her heart-beat is the vital factor? And in what way? Thinking along these lines it was argued that perhaps during its existence inside the body of the mother the unborn baby gets used to the sound of the heart beat. If this is so, then the re-discovery of this familiar sound after birth might have a calming effect on the infant, especially as it has just been born into a strange and frighteningly new world. If this is so then the mother would, somehow, soon arrive at the discovery that her baby is more at peace if held on the left against her heart, than on the right.

  1. We can learn a lot by observing the position in which a mother holds her baby against her body
  A. Right B. Wrong C. Not mentioned

  2. Most left-handed women feel comfortable by holding their baby in their left arm and keep the right arm free
  A. Right B. Wrong C. Not mentioned

  3. The number of right-handed mothers who hold the baby on the left side exceeds that of left-handed ones by 22%
  A. Right B. Wrong C. Not mentioned

  4. The fact that most left-handed mothers hold the baby on their left side renders the first explanation unsustainable
  A. Right B. Wrong C. Not mentioned

  5. The fact that the heart is on the left side of the mother's body provides the most convincing explanation of all
  A. Right B. Wrong C. Not mentioned

  6. A baby held in the right arm of its mother can be easily frightened
  A. Right B. Wrong C. Not mentioned

  7. The writer's explanation of the phenomenon is supported by the fact that babies tend to be more peaceful if held in their mothers' left arms than in the right arms
  A. Right B. Wrong C. Not mentioned

  KEY: ACBABCA


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