Left handed facts: whoever said there weren’t advantages to being a leftie?
The life of the left-handed is not always very straightforward. Social stigmas still prevail, and many everyday tasks that are easily performed by a right-handed person are difficult for a leftie. With only 7-10 % of the population on their side, left-handed people tend to be male, which means that left-handed females are truly special!
Some interesting left handed facts:
- are able to adjust their eyes more easily underwater than their right-handed counterparts. Jolly handy (!) if you love to swim or dive. Scientists believe this has something to do with a different part of the brain being more dominant in left-handers.
- are more successful at passing their driving test than right-handers. In a poll taken by driving schools, found that 57% of left-handers passed their test first time compared with 47% in right-handers. Considering cars are designed with the needs of right-handers in mind, this is an interesting result!
- spend less time queuing. Studies show that most people veer to the right if there are multiple queues to choose from. Lefties however, tend to choose the queue on their dominant side. A Disneyland guidebook even suggests that visitors will spend less time standing in line for attractions, if they choose the left-hand side when given the option!
- are faster typists. On a standard keyboard, there are approximately 3400 words that can be typed uniquely with the left hand, compared to about 450 words typed solely with the right!
- are more likely to have a prominence in the music and the arts than language. Research has revealed that left-handed university students are more likely to gain a degree in visually-based, as opposed to language-based, subjects. In one small study 47% of art students were left-handed or ambidextrous. This is probably due to the right side influence of the brain. This potentially puts left-handers in a creatively advantageous position along with many of the great artists of our time, like Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Rembrandt, Pablo Picasso and musicians/composers such as Bach, Pablo Casels, Jimi Hendrix and Mark Knopler.
- are more able to multitask. One of the advantages of being left-handed is that it forces your brain to act more quickly. What this means for everyday life is that those who are left-handed may find it easier to manage large, more random streams of information. Researchers found that connections between the left and right sides of the brain happen faster in left-handed people. The more dominant the left-handedness is, the better these abilities appear to be.
- have a greater chance of being a genius. Researchers aren’t sure why, but those who are left-handed seem to make up a disproportionately large part of those who are highly intelligent. For example, 20% of all Mensa members are left-handed. When you consider that less than 10 % of the total population is left-handed, this means there are many clever lefties out there! Some think this genius stems from being forced to use both sides of the brain more often, allowing left-handers to more easily process a large amount of information. Some notable leftie clever clogs include Issac Newton, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, as well as 4 out of the 5 original Mackintosh designers.
Left handed facts and the science bit..
Being left-handed affects the way a person thinks. One theory divides left- and right-handed thinkers into two camps: visual simultaneous vs. linear sequential. According to this theory, right-handed people are thought to process information using a linear sequential method in which one thread of thought must complete its processing before the next thread can be started. Left-handers are thought to process information using a visual simultaneous method in which several threads can be processed simultaneously. Imagine there were one thousand red buttons, but one of them was coloured blue. Right-handed people (using the linear sequential processing style) would look at the buttons one at a time until they encountered the blue one. The left-handed person would spread out the buttons and look at all of them to find the one that was blue. A side effect of these differing styles of processing is that right-handers need to complete one task before they can start the next. Left-handers, by contrast, are capable and comfortable switching between tasks.
The left hemisphere (right handed control) controls speech, language, writing, logic, mathematics and science. This is the linear sequential mode.
The right hemisphere (left handed control) controls music, art, creativity, perception, spatial awareness, emotions and other forms of abstract thinking. This is the visual simultaneous mode
Photo credit: wikimedia commons
Are you or a member of your family left handed, what have you noticed that differentiates you as a left-hander to those of the right -handed community? Do you have some interesting left handed facts to add to our list? Good or bad, we’d love to hear your comments on this topic!
About the Author (Author Profile)
Rebecca Watkins worked as a professional photo journalist and travelled the world with her husband John, before settling down as a stay at home mother to their three daughters. They have recently moved back from the French Alps to an old cottage in Devon, England. Rebecca’s days are filled with visits to the beach, animated discussions and in the best moments, happiness and creativity in her family home of five. The other moments are filled with craziness and chaos and she loves those too.