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Being Left Handed

Updated on July 16, 2016

A Right Handed World

I’m sure everyone knows that it’s a right-handed world in which we live. Lefties are a true minority making up only 10-12% of the total population. Did you know that years ago they were also considered everything from having a nasty habit of using the ‘wrong hand’ to being marked by satan!

Obviously, there are reasons for being left-handed versus right-handed that have nothing to do with being rebellious, a deviant or mentally insane regardless of popular views of the past. Later we’ll discuss the latest news on what researchers believe cause left-handedness as well as what other conditions may be linked to it. But first let’s look at a little trivia on ‘lefty’ history. This list contains not only references to the person as a lefty but also the term itself.

· The word left in English originates from the word lyft, meaning weak or broken-found in The Oxford English Dictionary as illegitimate, ambiguous, doubtful, questionable, awkward, clumsy, inapt and defective

· Several claims have been made that lefties die up to nine years earlier than righties

· Some research has shown a possible link to trauma to the fetus during pregnancy and a higher chance of being a lefty

· Women who give birth while over the age of 40 have a 128% higher chance of producing a lefty than a woman in her 20’s

· Some believe that a high level of testosterone in the womb causes a greater chance of being born a lefty. If true, this may show a correlation between being left-handed and developing an autoimmune disease since testosterone has been proven to be a link in immune disorders

· Research shows lefties are more spatially aware

· Islamic culture considers eating with the left hand is forbidden because it is considered unclean due to the fact that the left hand is used to wipe away feces after defecation; it is also against their law to use or display the left hand in public

· Left handedness runs is families

· The LRRTM1 gene plays a significant role in lefty genetics

· Lefties are more likely to be dyslexic, autistic, premature at birth and have a stuttering problem

· The Bible mentions references to the right hand 100 times positively and 25 times negatively

· Wives tales say itching in the left hand means losing money, itching in the right hand means gaining money

· Several depictions of the devil in art show him as a lefty

· The Boston Strangler, Jack the Riper and Osama Bin Laden were lefties

· Joan of Arc, Ronald Reagan, Steve Forbes, Alexander the Great were lefties

· Studies conducted by St. Lawrence University in New York revealed that there were more lefties with IQ’s higher than 140 than righties (Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Benjamin Franklin were all lefties)


Past Beliefs & Research

Recent research has changed some previous views and proves that there is significance to handedness and may have links to certain disorders of the brain such as ADHD, dyslexia and schizophrenia, which appear to be more common in lefties. 25% of handedness is caused by genetics and the other 75% is by environment, specifically stress in the womb and to the mother during pregnancy, according to studies. Also, antithetical thinking is more common in left-handed individuals. This type of thought process is where creativity evolves. Reasons for these differences are still unknown.

It was also previously believed that left-handed people used more of the right side of theirs brains and right-handed people used more of the left side. Researchers still believe this theory holds true for the righties but approximately 70% of the lefties use the left side, which is the area that controls language. The other 30% either use the right side of the brain more or more of a combination of both sides. This 30% may be more likely to have learning disabilities and other brain disorders. The combination use, known as symmetry, means that neither side of the brain is dominant and may be the link to disorders such as schizophrenia and ADHD.


Lefties: The Mysterious Ones

My question, like many of you may be asking, is why is there so little known about why lefties are so different and what are the real links to disorders? The main reason is because lefties were excluded from participating in any studies at all. They were considered to be abnormal and would ‘skew’ result because it was known that the brain function of a lefty was different. One possible cause for this different functioning could be elevated stress hormone, cortisol, during pregnancy that can interfere with brain development according to professor Obel of Aarhus University in Denmark. In Sweden another study was done with 1,700 expectant mothers enduring stressful conditions during their pregnancy were more likely to give birth to non-right handed babies.

As more studies are conducted allowing more left-handed people to participate, more information will be obtained to better understand that being a lefty is not a curse nor a death sentence nor is it a diagnosis of deviance or psychosis. But it may be an early signal to delve a little deeper in order to gain understanding of the mind and life lived of a lefty. It may also provide a chance to gain valuable insight and intervention time for children with learning disabilities and/or possible mental disorders.


Everyday Difficulties for a Lefty

Consider A Different World

We've all, at some time, attempted to write with our non-dominant hand. For most of us, it was a mess at best! Have you thought about how life would be if everything felt that weird?

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© 2012 cammyshawn


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    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 5 years ago

      As a lefty whenever anybody laughes and calls me clumbsy I challenge them to try to go through a whole day using just their left hand. See how easy it is (not).

      In China being a left mean highs IQ and being very creative.