What is the Mind-Body-Mismatch Problem?

There are two aspects to the mind-body-mismatch problem: the root problem and a meta-problem. The root problem exists at essentially the individual level, while the meta-problem exists at the societal level. The MBM problem is therefore a problem within a problem.

The root problem

The root problem is best illustrated with the following table showing the different bio-logical combinations of hand use and hand ability:

Writing hand



Adept hand


In harmony with self and the hegemony of the right

Neither in harmony with the self or the hegemony of the right


In harmony with the hegemony of the right but not with the self

In harmony with self

but not the hegemony of the right

The labels for the hands need no special definition: left is left and right is right. Neither does the does the writing hand need a special definition: it is simply the hand used for writing or drawing.

In one sense ‘adept’ hand needs no special definition either: it is simply the hand better able to handle novel and / or complex manipulo-spatial tasks with seemingly effortless ease. The adept hand is, however, for those who do not know what to look for, not so readily noted.

There are two reasons. The first is related to the various ways the hands are labelled.









Preferred hand



Mixed handed


The difficulty with these labels, apart from the first, is that they pose as explanations of performance ability when in fact they are merely re-descriptions, reflecting observer judgment.

The second is related to the fact that repeated practice tends to improve performance irrespective of which hand is used. This is the reason why noting which hand is used for everyday activities, as with the self-report Edinburgh Handedness Inventory which provides a quantitative measure of laterality fails to identify the adept hand.

One of the major problems with research into handedness is that the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory is the generally accepted tool for measuring it. However in providing a measure of hand laterality it has one major failing as a measure of handedness as defined in terms of solely writing and seemingly effortless ease at handling novel and therefore complex tasks.

The meta-problem

Meta-problem means simply the problem which lies beyond root problem. A relevant example would be when experts are called to give a judgment on an issue and they offer different opinions. The tendency is to stay at that ‘expert’ level and try to decide which is the better expert. An alternative approach is to ask instead why experts, claiming relevant expertise differ in their opinion. Mary Douglas in her How Institutions Think asked this question and answered in much the same that Stephen Pepper did much earlier in his World Views: A Study in Evience. Their opinion was embedded in different world views, otherwise called mind sets or cognitive schemas.

The meta-problem identified here is why the mind-body-mismatch is at best ignored and at worst rejected as a co-factor in a variety of conditions, to cite only a few – dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder-  by the very agencies purporting to have the mental and physical welfare of their clients / patients at heart.

I tackle this meta-problem in greater detail elsewhere under the heading XXX

In principle it should be easy to allot anyone into one of the four Mind-Body-Match-Mismatch categories. And in practice it is, but only for those who know what to look for. But the problem within the root problem is how to distinguish between performance due repeated practice and performance due to unrehearsed ability. A further problem in this action research field is that the root and meta-problem are inextricably bound together.

Mind-Body Mismatch

Institutional Inertia

Path to Discovery

Awareness and Advocacy

Treatment and Implications

Identification and Support