There’s no denying it. Left-handers are always considered to be the odd ones out. While just 1 in 10 humans are lefties (lefties make up about 10% of the population), they strive hard to survive in a world designed for the right handed. They have to adjust using gadgets designed for the majority rights as well as use desks in an awkward way. What causes someone to become a southpaw? Scientists are wondering the same thing but they believe it is a complex collaboration between genes and environment. Apart from the fact that there are many famous people that use left as the dominant hand, there are several positive characteristics about these southpaws. Here, we have collected 10 such facts about lefties that you may have not known.
1. Left-handed people hear speech differently.
Research shows that the hand you are using affects how you hear speech. Subjects who used their right hands heard the rapidly changing sounds like consonants more often than when they used their left hand. Researchers at Georgetown University in New Orleans studied 24 volunteers and made the alarming discovery between motor skills and perception. Scientists now believe that this study could also help stroke patients be better communicators and improve speech recognition in children with dyslexia.
2. Minority of Neanderthals were left-handed.
Only 10% of humans are left-handed. This is true in both modern populations and fossils. Archaeologists who unearthed 50 European fossils discovered that 47 of them were right-handed (92%). Scientists have recently identified the fourth left-handed Neanderthal.
Scratch marks can be used to determine if ancient humans, living more than 500,000 years ago, used their right or left hands to process animal hides. During processing, they would stretch the hide by holding one side with one of their hands and the other in their mouth. By determining which tooth they frequently used, scientists can tell whether they were left or right-handed.
3. Your preference in hand may play an important role in your health.
Scientists studying how the use of left and right hemisphere affects our life found a correlation between schizophrenia and left-handedness. About 20% of people with schizophrenia dominantly use their left hands and left-handed people are at an increased risk for dyslexia, ADHD, and certain mood disorders. Although scientists aren’t sure why this happens, they believe that it has to do with how our brains are wired. However, lefties may be in luck when it comes to other health conditions. A survey of more than 1.4 million participants found that left-handers had lower rates of arthritis and ulcers.
4. Left-handed people are better at art.
You might have heard rumors about left-handed people being more creative than those who are right-handed. Well, it is true. According to research published in the American Journal of Psychology, left-handed people have the upper hand in at least one creative facet. They’re also artistic or innovative and better at divergent thinking. Southpaws are also drawn to careers in the arts, music, sports and information technology fields.
5. Premature babies often are left-handed.
The field of medicine has progressed over the last two decades in helping premature babies survive and even thrive. In the U.S., one in nine babies born are premature. Between 1993 and 2012, 34,600 pre-term babies were born and the survival rates for preemies between 22 and 28 weeks of gestation increased to 79 percent in 2012, up from 70 percent in 1993. A team of doctors in Australia and Boston studied 115 babies who were preemies. Their study found that 54 percent of extreme preemies were left-handed, while a vast majority of full-term infants were right-handed.
6. Left-handers may have an upper hand in sports.
Most of our favorite sports superstars are left-handed. Legends such as Phil Mickelson, Rafael Nadal and boxing champ Oscar de la Hoya are all southpaws. A study found that left-handers may have the advantage in sports that involve two opponents facing each other. This is because left-handed athletes get a lot more opportunity to practice against right-handed opponents than vice versa.
7. Southpaws are scaredy-cats.
According to recent research, people who use their left hands tend to be more affected by fear than people who use their right hands. The research was published at the annual conference of the British Psychology Society. Participants of the study were shown an eight-minute clip from the frightening film “Silence of the Lambs”. After the segment was completed, they were asked to describe the sequence. Left-handed people who explained the scenes showed more signs of post-traumatic stress disorder than righties.
8. Lefties are more prone to having negative emotions.
If you are left-handed and you had an argument with your partner who is right-handed and they tend to move on just fine but you just can’t drop the anchor, then blame your handedness. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease conducted a study and found that lefties are more prone to having negative emotions and anger. They have a hard time processing or suppressing them due to imbalance in activity between the left and right hemispheres when trying to process their moodiness.
9. Left-handers are more likely to become alcoholics.
Next time you meet someone at a bar or a pub, pay attention to which hand he’s holding his glass with. If it’s the left, fair warning, they are most likely to be alcoholics. A recent survey of more than 25,000 people from 12 countries found that that left-handers are more likely to become alcoholics.
10. August 13 is International Left-Handers Day.
Lefties across the globe celebrate August 13th as is International Left-Handers Day. The event was first launched in 1992 by the UK-based Left-Hander’s Club to bring awareness about the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed.