LIFESTYLE NEWS - Only about 10 percent of the population is left handed. Handedness seems to be determined very early on in fetal development and babies may show early signs of being left handed.
The direction in which they tend to turn their heads when they are placed on their tummies seems to indicate whether they are left or right handed.
Ancient negativity around left handedness
The Latin word sinistra originally meant “left” but took on meanings of “evil” or “unlucky” by the Classical Latin era, and this double meaning survives in European derivatives of Latin and in the English word “sinister”. This could be one of the reasons why left handed children were forced to write with their right hand. The Anglo-Saxon word lyft means broken or weak.
Forcing left handed children to write with their right hand, which still happens in certain parts of the world, can cause multiple problems in the developing left-handed child, including learning disorders, dyslexia, stuttering and other speech disorders.
No difference in intellectual ability, but lefties may think differently
“There’s an idea that left handed people are more intelligent, but that’s not so,” says Elizabeth Ochoa, PhD, chief psychologist at Mount Sinai-Beth Israel. A study from the 70s examined more than 7 000 school children and found no difference in intellectual ability between left handers and right handers. Left handers may however think differently.
“The world is not a left handed-friendly place – utensils, scissors and other items of daily use are designed for the right-handed person,” says Dr. Ochoa. “Left handed people have to think flexibly and come up with ways to use those tools and navigate.”
Left handed people have shorter tempers
There’s a general perception that left handed and ambidextrous people are more prone to negative emotions. A study published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease shows that they also have a greater imbalance in activity between the left and right brains when they process emotions. Frequent bad moods may be a result of this.
Lefties are not more creative
The link between left handers and creativity is a longstanding myth that is likely just that – a myth. A 1995 study found left handed men tended to think more creatively when problem-solving (divergent thinking), however, there was no difference in the thinking between female right handed people and female left handed people. “When you look at actual creative achievements in one’s lifetime, the evidence is not strong for association with left handedness,” Ronald Yeo, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Texas-Austin told Health.
Lefties have an advantage in sports
Lefties have the upper hand when it comes to one-on-one sports like tennis, boxing and pitching a baseball. In his book The Puzzle of Left-Handedness, linguist Rik Smits explains that athletes, (left and right handed) usually train against right handed opponents. When facing a left handed opponent, lefties can easily adjust, but righties are at a double disadvantage. “They’re forced to engage in an asymmetrical battle for which they’re poorly prepared, against an opponent who’s a dab hand at dealing with this type of asymmetry,” he writes.
Left handed people may be more likely to have mental health issues
Among people suffering from mental illness, those with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia are much more likely to be left handed than those with mood disorders like depression or bipolar disorder, according to a Yale University study. Researchers studied a group of patients from an outpatient psychiatric clinic and found that 40 percent of those with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were left handed. That’s considerably higher than the 10 percent of left handed people found in the general population.
Famous left handed people
Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Bill Gates, Queen Victoria, Angelina Jolie, Prince William, Prince Charles, Keanu Reeves, Robert Redford, Barack Obama, Whoopi Goldberg, Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt, Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Boston Strangler, Jack the Ripper, Julius Caesar, Helen Keller and Napoléon Bonaparte.
There is a special day for left handed people
In the 1990s, the UK-based Left Hander’s Club started the annual Left Handers Day. Every year on August 13, lefties around the world can celebrate their minority dominant hand. The purpose is to raise awareness about those who are living with a dominant left hand in a right handed world.
Watch a video below.