Are Left Handed People Smarter?
Left Handedness is Believed to Be Genetic
About 10% of the world’s population is left-handed, believed to be the result of genetics. Professor of psychology and medical education, Chris McManus at University College London, says there is only one point difference on average, between the scores of left-handers and right-handers on standard IQ tests taken in the U.S., England, or Australia.
Professor McManus goes on to say in the Scientific American that some things that are notable about left handed people is that they tend to suffer more often from severe learning disabilities, mental retardation, dyslexia, and more often have a stutter, than right-handed people. The professor believes the left-hander’s higher incidence of accidents is a result of living in a world designed primarily for right-handers, and is not related to any disability.
On the other hand (no pun intended), McManus says “left-handers may have an advantage. Left-handers’ brains are structured differently from right-handers’ in ways that can allow them to process language, spatial relations and emotions in more diverse and potentially creative ways. Also, a slightly larger number of left-handers than right-handers are especially gifted in music and math. A study of musicians in professional orchestras found a significantly greater proportion of talented left-handers, even among those who played instruments that seem designed for right-handers, such as violins.”
McManus believes being left-handed can have an advantage in some sports, too. Wikipedia agrees with that, and states that left-handers may also have an advantage in combat. This is because most right-handers are not accustomed to opposing people who are not right handed, but left-handers have a great deal of experience opposing people who are not left handed.
Left-handed people who play sports or engage in combat usually have a different strategy or style, which can benefit them because it is rare for right-handers to come up against people who are left handed. As a result, right-handed people are often not prepared and seasoned in competing against left-handers.
A Special Day Just For Lefties
First celebrated in 1976, did you know there is an International Left Hander's Day? Yes, it is August 13th, so if you, or someone you know is a “lefty,” maybe you would like to celebrate the uniqueness of you, or them, being a left hander.
It was not very long ago that being left handed was considered a disability and elementary school teachers would do their best to force left handed students to write with their right hands. Hopefully this is no longer the case.
Just a thought, but is it not interesting how all through history there have been people who have tried to force everyone to conform to whatever was the most prevalent norm of any behavior or belief? Even today some people want to force everyone to think, behave, like themselves, and be the way they think we all should be.
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Just A Partial List (100) of Famous Left Handed People
Arnold Palmer; Mark Spitz; John McEnroe; Jimmy Connors; Martina Navratilova; Judy Garland; Greta Garbo; Betty Grable; Marilyn Monroe . . .
Cary Grant; WC Fields; Steve McQueen; Peter Ustinov; Charlie Chaplin; Fred Astaire; Robert Redford; Tom Cruise; Robert De Niro; Sylvester Stalone; Bruce Willis; Jim Carrey; Julia Roberts; Angelina Jolie; Nicole Kidman; Emma Thompson; Demi Moore . . .
Bob Dylan; Jimmi Hendrix; Sir Paul McCartney; Sting; David Bowie; Phil Collins; George Michael; Marshall Mathers - Eminem; Celine Dion; Paul Simon; Ringo Starr . . .
Bill Gates; J Edgar Hoover; Mark Twain; HG Wells; Lewis Carroll; Prince Charles and Prince William of England; Neil Armstrong; Buzz Aldrin; fashion designer, Jean-Paul Gaultier; The Simpsons cartoon creator: Matt Groening; Ted Koppel . . .
JF Kennedy; Gerald Ford; Ronald Reagan; Bill Clinton; Leonardo Da Vinci; Michelangelo; Pablo Picasso; Julius Caesar; Wolfgang Amedeus Mozart; Ludwig Van Beethoven; Winston Churchill; Napoleon Bonaparte - and Josephine; Queen Victoria; Alexander the Great; Joan of Arc; Marie Curie; Albert Einstein; Benjamin Franklin . . .
Steve Forbes; Ruth Bader Ginsberg; Former Senator Daniel Inouye; Anthony Kennedy; former Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Robert S. McNamara; former Secretary of Defense Col. Oliver North; H. Ross Perot, Nelson Rockefeller . . .
Mahatma Gandhi; Sir Isaac Newton; Aristotle; Bobby Fischer; Babe Ruth; Yogi Berra; Nicole Kidman; Oprah Winfrey; Leo Tolstoy; Drew Barrymore; Jack the Ripper; Albert Henry DeSalvo (Boston Strangler); John Dillinger (Bank robber) . . .
Helen Keller; Henry Ford; Lady Gaga; Tina Fey; Alicia Keys; Scarlett Johansson; Goldie Hawn; Carol Burnett; Olivia de Havilland; Natale Cole; Diane Keaton; Kim Novak; Melissa Manchester; Cloris Leachman; and last, but not least, George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Hand Preference Questionaire
If you would like to take a hand preference questionnaire, click here.
Wikipedia on left handedness/advantages/disadvantages: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handedness
McManus in the Scientific American: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=is-it-true-that-left-handed-people
Some famous Left handers: http://www.indiana.edu/~primate/left.html
© 2012 C E Clark