Research Online


Goldsmiths - University of London

Science in the Making: Right Hand, Left Hand. I: A BBC television programme broadcast in 1953

McManus, I. C.; Rawles, Richard; Moore, James W. and Freegard, Matthew. 2010. Science in the Making: Right Hand, Left Hand. I: A BBC television programme broadcast in 1953. Laterality, 15(1-2), pp. 136-165. ISSN 1464-0678 [Article]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

In August 1953, the BBC broadcast a television science programme entitled Science in the Making: Right Hand, Left Hand. The programme was broadcast live, being presented by Dr Jacob Bronowski in collaboration with Dr Kenneth Smith, and produced by George Noordhof. It not only presented a popular account of current ideas about right- and left-handedness, by using a group of celebrities (and a chimpanzee) in the studio, but also asked viewers to complete a brief questionnaire on handedness, which was printed in the Radio Times. Recently 6,336 of the returned questionnaires, which were said to have been analysed by Sir Cyril Burt and a colleague, were found in the archive of the Psychology Department of University College London. The present paper describes what we have discovered about the programme from various sources, including the producer and the son of Dr Kenneth Smith, and also presents basic descriptions of the postcards and the response to the programme. In two subsequent papers we will describe our analysis of the data from the postcards, which represents an unusual, large-scale survey of handedness in the mid-twentieth century.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Departments, Centres and Research Units:




Item ID:


Date Deposited:

10 Feb 2012 14:52

Last Modified:

04 Jul 2017 10:13

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


Edit Record Edit Record (login required)