12 Surprising Facts About Lefties

Featured Article, Growth and Development

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August 13 is International Left-Hander’s Day. This worldwide celebration began in 1992 by the UK-based Left-Hander’s Club to spread awareness about a left-handed lifestyle. Considering the amount of right-handed gadgets and how most school desks are designed for right-handed people, lefties have more challenges than most people realize. Left-handers are an ambiguous minority, making up 10 percent of the population. While they have no collective identity, lefties have a surprisingly long history of discrimination from social, educational and religious institutions (The Left-Hander Syndrome). For starters, the English word “left” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “lyft,” which means weak or broken. The Oxford English Dictionary actually defines left-handed as meaning crippled and illegitimate. In Scotland, when someone is unlucky, people say, “He must have been baptized by a left-handed priest (The Left-Hander Syndrome).” Beyond the social discrimination toward lefties, there are many mental and physical issues connected to being left-handed, as well as some perks! Here are 12 little-known facts about southpaws:

  1. Women who are older when they give birth are more likely to have a left-handed child (The Wall Street Journal).
  2. While on their tummies, right-handed babies tend to turn their heads to the right. Left-handed babies usually turn their heads to the left or don’t show any preference (The Left-Hander Syndrome).
  3. Lefties reach puberty 4-5 months after righties (Babble).
  4. Disorders related to brain development such as dyslexia, schizophrenia and ADHD are more common in left-handed people (The Wall Street Journal).
  5. After a fearful event or scary movie, left-handed people are more likely to show behavior similar to those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to a study presented at the British Psychology Society conference (Huffington Post).
  6. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease published a study showing southpaws to feel negative more often. According to the study, left-handers showed an imbalance in activity between the left and right hemispheres of the brain when trying to process their moodiness (Huffington Post).
  7. Left-handers have an advantage in sports because most players are used to facing only right-handed opponents. Golfer Phil Mickelson, tennis player Rafael Nadal and boxing champ Oscar de la Hoya are some of the all-star left-handed athletes (Anything Lefthanded).
  8. Lefties spend less time waiting in lines because most people veer to the right, while left-handed people choose the left side (Anything Lefthanded).
  9. A study with more than 1.4 million participants found left-handers had lower rates of arthritis and ulcers (Everyday Health).
  10. Southpaws are more skilled in ideation and creativity (Everyday Health).
  11. According to Chris McManus, a professor of psychology and medical education at University College London, left-handed people have historically produced an above-average quota of high achievers (Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci and Aristotle to name a few). McManus believes their brain structure widens their range of abilities (Daily Mail).
  12. As far as presidential elections go, a Dutch study showed left-handed politicians could actually have an advantage (Huffington Post). Right-handed gestures have a positive association, while left-handed ones are perceived negatively. The TV presents a mirror image, meaning left-handed gestures are actually seen as positive, right-handed gestures! Four of the last seven presidents are left-handed: President Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford.
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