Happy International Left-Handers Day!
This is a day is one for us to raise our left hand to the 10% or so of those around the world who think with the right side of their brains.
Here are 10 scientific facts you might not know about the lefties of this world.
1. Lefties can throw a punch
When researchers at the University of Montpellier in France surveyed nine primitive societies in five separate continents, they found a higher percentage of lefties translated into more frequent violent encounters. Furthermore, lefties often had the upper hand in a fight because of the element of surprise. No one expects a punch to come out of left field.
2. Left-handers are better at certain sports.
Depending on which sport, lefties may have an advantage. For instant, in sports where opponents are facing off each other (e.g. boxing, tennis) lefties have an advantage due to the “fighting hypothesis,” which states that lefties are better away to combat their opponent’s rightward movement with their dominant left hand.
3. Lefties are more creative!
Southpaws are better at multi-tasking and make especially good sportsmen (Rafael Nadal, anybody?). But, lefties also tend to be drawn to careers in the arts, music and culture fields.
4. Left-handers have a shorter lifespan.
It has been quoted, for what seems to be ages, that left-handed people have a shorter life span by nine years than their right-handed peers. This information was shared in the 1980s in two scientific journals — “Nature” and the “New England Journal of Medicine” — by psychologists Diane Halpern and Stanley Corenboth.
5. Animals have a paw preference, too.
One British study, among others, found that about 40 percent of cats are southpaws, with an additional 10 percent happy to swat a ball of yarn with either paw. Another Brit study found paw preference in dogs is split about evenly.
6. Left-handers do worse on timed exams.
It could be because of the right-handed desks in school or awkward sitting positions, but left-handers do worse on timed exams. Lefties, know that you can ask your school for special seating on your exam to accommodate your hand dominance!
Facts About Left Handed People. (6)
7. We love leftie leaders.
The fact that five of our last seven commanders in chief have been lefties is probably a coincidence. However, as one recent Dutch investigation suggested, right-handed politicians may want to fake it to the left.
8. Lefties use their brains differently.
Lefties may use their noggins slightly differently from righties, the research suggests. For example, one Australian study found left-handed people access both hemispheres of their brain more readily than right-handed people, who tend to be left hemisphere-dominant.
Facts About Left Handed People. (8)
9. Lefties hit puberty later than their right-handed counterparts.
Lefties reach puberty four to five months after right-handers. Does that explain my inability to grow a beard?
10. Lefties are often left out.
Scissors and computer mice were designed without a second thought for lefties. That’s inconvenient. But leaving left handed people out of the equation in scientific research may have far-reaching consequences, Dutch scientists have said.