Most of the world is right-handed and don’t understand the challenges of being a lefty in a righty’s world. Various studies on the biological and psychological effects of being a lefty have been conducted, with some focused on its evolutionary impact.
Some believe that left-handed people lean more towards the independent side as they have had to learn to cope in a world predominantly designed and built for right-handed people. Others throughout time were superstitious and believed that since the devil was said to be left-handed, those who were left-handed must be practitioners of witchcraft.
While lefties may need to learn to adjust with right-handed instruments or wrestle with the scissors made for righties, there are still many cool facts about lefties that people are unaware of. These lesser-known left-handed people’s facts will undoubtedly intrigue you to know more about them.
Interesting Facts About Lefties
Lefties are some pretty exciting individuals and worthy of a little shout-out. So, here are some amazing facts about left-handers that you may not have previously known:
1. More Often are Male
Men make up for 23% more than women in the left-handed population, according to a study conducted in 2008. The study consisted of around 144 studies with a sample participant size of about two million people.
2. Faster Recovery from Strokes
Our language gets affected when strokes occur in the left side of the brain. Around 95% of righties have their language controlled by the left side of their brain, while only 70% of lefties have theirs controlled by the left side. This is why more of those who have recovered control over their language after a stroke are lefties.
3. Advantageous Hand at Sports
Lefties have a particular advantage over righties in certain sports, like fencing, boxing, tennis, baseball, and swimming. Righties are more used to playing against other righties, which may throw them off their game a little when they have to play against a leftie. For example, a batter in baseball is more likely to be more accustomed to pitches by a righty, so they are more likely to miss when receiving a pitch by a lefty. This is especially seen as more prevalent in Tennis, where around 40% of the current top players are lefties.
4. Drawn Figures Usually Face Right
A study from 2014, titled “What Affects Facing Direction in Human Facial Profile Drawing? A Meta-Analytic Inquiry,” has displayed contrasting characteristics between righties and lefties. While lefties are more prone to drawing their characters facing right, righties generally draw theirs facing left.
5. An Advantage in Typing
We tend to use both hands while typing, but it has been found that around 300 words are typed mainly with the right hand, whereas about 3000 words are mainly typed with the left on a QWERTY keyboard.
6. More Intelligent Than Right
Lefties have heterogeneous brain organization, where they can process verbal information using both sides of the brain. At the same time, righties have a more organized brain division, where the right hemisphere takes care of visuospatial processing, and the left hemisphere handles the verbal processing. Since lefties can process oral information on both sides of the brain, they can process larger amounts of data and have higher intelligence levels than righties.
7. More Artistic
Lefties are more artistic as their dominant hemisphere controls the awareness of art, creativity, and imagination. They are also more partial to visual information over language-based.
8. Better at Writing with Non-Dominant Hand
In Australia, a small-scale study found that lefties could write much better with their right hands than righties could with their left.
9. Some Folks Fear Left-Handedness
Some people fear all things left-sided; amongst those left-handed people are included! This fear even has a name, Sinistrophobia.
10. Not So Gifted at Tongue Rolling
Believe it or not, someone did a study on the ability of lefties to roll their tongues. They found that quite a significant number of lefties had trouble with that one compared to righties. Only 62.8% of lefties could roll their tongues, whereas 74.8% of righties could do it.
11. Five Leftie Presidents
Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden are some of the recent southpaws to take the oval room.
12. National Left-Handers Day
13th August is known as National Left-Handers Day. Another aim of International Left-Handers Day is to raise awareness of the grievances that lefties face in a world made for righties. It was first launched in the year 1992 in the United Kingdom by the Left-Handers Club.
13. They are More Likely to be Ambidextrous Than Righties
As our world is designed mainly for righties, left-handed people have become quite deft in doing certain things with their right hands.
14. A “Sinister” Reputation
Lefties have a pretty negative reputation in cultural history worldwide. Lefties were often seen as weak, unlucky, corrupt, and sometimes even associated with evil. The word “sinister” is even derived from the Latin word “sinister,” which means “left.”
15. Practitioners of the Craft
During the Middle Ages, the left-handed were often suspected of witchcraft and accused of being in league with the devil.
16. Forced to be Right
Children born with a natural preference towards their left sides were forced to eat and write with their right hands. Although this stopped in the 20th century, it continues in some parts of the world.
17. Positive Associations
Not everyone in the world saw lefties as unfavorable. Amongst the Incas, left-handed people were seen in a favorable light. Those who were lefties were believed to have spiritual abilities, including the power to heal. Lloque Yupanqui, the third Sapa Inca, was known for being a leftie. When his name is translated, it means “the glorified lefthander.”
Researchers who study wild chimpanzees had noted that they are more likely to favor their left hands while performing skills that require fine motor coordination, such as termite fishing. However, the chimps would prefer their right hand when performing tasks that required brute force, such as nut-cracking.
19. Leftie Neanderthals Had Similar Problems
Even Neanderthals were discovered to have favored their right hands – this means that they often built any stone tools they had for righties. Left-handed Neanderthals had to either learn to use them or make special tools that they could use. This was determined after studying the tools and bones in the arms of neanderthal skeletons through skeletal asymmetry.
20. Handedness Determined in the Womb
A fetus starts to move its arms in the womb at around the nine to the ten-week mark. By the time the pregnancy reaches the second trimester, babies already show a preference on which thumb they would rather suck on, the right or left. This makes some believe that handedness is something that is determined before birth. However, children have also been seen to switch their dominant hands until the age of two years, sometimes three, so it is never guaranteed that a child will be left-handed or right-handed based on their actions in the womb.
21. Left Isn’t Always Right
Despite most of the world overcoming the stigma surrounding left-handedness, in countries like Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, and the Middle East, it is still considered rude to give something to someone with your left hand. It is also considered rude if you pick things up or eat with your left hand.
22. Kings of England
The future Kings of England, Princes Charles, and William are left-handed. King George VI was also left-handed but forced his father to learn to use his right hand.
23. Language is Unkind to Lefties
People view lefties as unfavorable, but it is seen in some ways through language as well. “Gauche,” in French, means “clumsy” and “left.” The word “sinister” is derived from the Latin word for “left,” and the English word “left” is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word for “weak,” which is “lyft.”
24. Strange Nicknames
Left-handed people are not only called lefties; there are other names such as “Southpaw,” “Mollydooker,” “Cuddy Wifter,” and “Goofy Footed” that are used to describe them.
25. Better at Driving
A study has found that left-handed people are better drivers than righties. They found that lefties are involved in far fewer accidents than righties. An AA Driving School conducted a poll and found that while 47 righties passed their driving test the first time, 57 lefties passed on the first try.
26. No Left Cavemen
By the time the human race started drawing in caves, most were already showing signs of right-handedness. This can be seen as the cave paintings depict the human figures always carrying tools in their right hands. The images of handprints are also mostly done with the right hand.
27. Twins are More Likely to Be Lefties
Numerous studies have been done on handedness in twins, and almost all of them have shown that twins are far more likely to be left-handed than singletons.
28. The Left Castle
During the medieval days, castle staircases were designed so that those who were defending from the top were able to draw their swords, but the invaders would be unable to draw their swords as the wall would block them. Ferniehirst Castle of Clan Kerr in Scotland was built to accommodate leftie fighters, enabling left-handed sword fighters to draw their swords instead of right-handed ones. This is because the clan specifically trained their soldiers to wield their swords in their left hands.
29. Better Multi-Taskers
Left-handed people have always had to face challenges in life regarding handedness, so they have always had to think quickly to solve their problems. The communication between the two hemispheres in a lefties brain has much better communication, making it much easier for them to focus on more than one activity and multi-task.
30. Better at GPS
Spatial skills are always necessary, and a study found that lefties were less likely to make mistakes in a spatial orientation test.
31. Lefties are More Competitive
In a study held in Northwestern, they discovered that lefties tend to be more competitive than righties.
32. Better at Video Games
Australian Professor Dr. Nick Cherbuin discovered that left-handed people could outperform right-handed people in complex or fast tasks. Their reaction times were better, making them much better at gaming.
33. Better Self-Control
Lefties are believed to have better self-control than righties, as it was found in a study that lefties possess better inhibitory control than their right-handed peers.
34. More Likely to Have Schizophrenia
It was found that those with a psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia are far more likely to be lefties than those who suffer from mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder or depression.
35. Lefties in their Right Minds
It has long been believed that handedness results from the hemisphere of the brain which is more active. However, a newer study suggests that the gene activity in the spinal cord is the determining factor when it comes to the dominant hand.
There is no doubt that lefties face many more challenges in their daily lives than a righty could ever hope to understand. However, lefties have also proven that they can adjust to difficult situations better than righties and have the ability to achieve great things.