11 Facts About Left Handed People You Probably Didn’t Know
On Tuesday's show, we talked about how the new baby sitter I have to watch my kids when I'm at work is left handed and had a hard time using the manual can opener in my home. This led to a ton of phone calls from other lefties who shared little things us righties would never think of regarding how hard it is for them to get along in a world made primarily for the majority right handed. Things like the spiral of notebooks getting in the way of their dominant left hand when they're writing at the left margin. Or a lefty constantly bumping elbows when dining in a booth next to a righty. Think about it.
Well tonight I did a little research and came up with this offering from EverydayHealth.com. It's 11 little known facts about lefties.
- According to a study at Georgetown University, lefties hear speeches differently. When you hold something in your left hand you more easily hear rapidly changing sounds than those of us who hold something in our right hand. The left and right hemispheres of the brain specialize in different kinds of sounds. The left hemisphere likes rapidly changing sounds like consonants while the right prefers slowly changing sounds like syllables or intonation.
- Left handed people were always the minority even going back to Neanderthals. We've been right hand dominant for more than 500,000 years. University of Kansas research determined this by studying prehistoric teeth of all things. The way they processed animal hides was to hold the carcass in their hand, their dominant hand presumably, and the other end in their mouth. The wear patterns show the majority have always been righties.
- Your left handedness could mean health issues. For example only about 10 percent of the population is left-handed yet 20 percent of people with schizophrenia dominantly use their left hands. There's also an increased risk for ADHD, dyslexia, and certain mood disorders.
- Lefties are more creative. There is evidence left dominant people are better at divergent thinking. A large survey finds lefties were drawn to careers in the arts and music at in higher numbers.
- This one you probably know. We favor lefties for our leaders. Since 1923 half the U.S. presidents have been left-handed and four of the last seven commanders in chief have been lefties: Obama, Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ford.
- In many sports, southpaws have the advantage. In sports like boxing, tennis, and baseball, where opponents are facing each other, this seems to play out. Rick Smits who wrote 'The Puzzle of Left-Handedness' chalks it up to the fact that left-handed jocks get a lot more opportunity to practice against right-handed opponents than vice versa, simply because there are so many more righties than lefties.
- Lefties are more afraid than righties. According to recent research presented at the annual conference of the British Psychology Society, lefties tend to be more affected by fear.
- They're also more easily embarrassed.
- They booze it up more. For a long time there was a myth that lefties were more likely to be alcoholics. Turns out that's not true. They don't have a problem with alcohol at any higher rates than righties. But they do drink more than righties. So they booze it up at a higher rate without becoming addicted to it.
- They have their own day. August 13th is Left-Hander's Day. A day "when left-handers everywhere can celebrate their sinistrality and increase public awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed."
- Lefties aren't going to become extinct. University of Montpellier researcher Charlotte Faurie studied nine different primitive societies and in more violent societies they found lefties thrived. "The fact that left-handers are less common means they have a surprise effect."