For centuries “the left” has had negative connotations. Even idioms today have used left to convey negative meanings like the left-handed compliment.
There has always been a difference between the left and right in almost all areas. That said, left-handed people and right-handed people have also been differentiated since time immemorial.
So, why do some people turn out to be left-handed and the others right-handed? Here is interesting information we need to know about left-handers.
Right Brain Vs. Left Brain
Our brain has two hemispheres: the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere. Both these hemispheres process information differently. The left brain is verbal and analytical whereas the right brain is nonverbal and visual, using pictures rather than words. The right brain is dominant for spatial abilities, face recognition, visual imagery, and music. The left brain may be more dominant for calculations, math, and logical abilities.
Are Left-Handed People More Creative?
It is known that the right side of the brain controls muscles on the left side of the body and the left side of the brain controls muscles on the right side of the body. Also, in general, sensory information from the left side of the body crosses over to the right side of the brain and information from the right side of the body crosses over to the left side of the brain.
If this is true, it means that the left-handed people are governed by their right brain more than the left. As mentioned earlier, the right hemisphere of the brain is responsible for creativity and arts. Thus, most people believe that the left-handed people are more creative. But, there is no substantial evidence that proves this point. Likewise, there is no evidence that shows that left-handed people perform poorly in tests of cognition when compared with right-handed people.
While there are people who pick famous left-handed musicians to argue that left-handed individuals fair well in the music industry, there are probably more number of good right-handed individuals in the industry that have shown their talents, too.
So, it is difficult to provide an exact answer. However, left-handed people may have advantages. To know more about the advantages, let’s first examine what handedness is and what causes it.
What is Handedness?
Are you right-handed or left-handed? If you use your right hand for tasks like writing, eating, and throwing a ball, then you are right-handed or right-hand dominant. The right-handed population is a majority, about 90 percent of the population.1
If you use your left hand for the tasks mentioned, then you are left-handed or left-hand dominant. Left-handed individuals constitute about 10 percent of the population.
There are others who use both the left and the right hand equally and they are called “ambidextrous.”
So, handedness is the dominance of one hand over the other.
Causes Of Left-Handedness
Here are a few factors that were taken into account to study the causes of left-handedness.2
- Genes – The genes of the parents may influence the child to favor the right hand. A single gene might be passed on to the child that favors the dominance of one hand over the other. A particular type of gene may be inherited by the child, making the child left handed.
- Sex – Slightly more boys than girls are observed to be left-handed. This suggests that the male testosterone may have a part in the influence of right and left-handedness of an individual.
- Fetal development – Some researchers believe that environmental factors play a bigger role in deciding an individual’s handedness than do genes. They believe that the environmental factors in the womb will influence the hand that we choose to use more often later in our life.
- Modeling – Most children mimic their parents and other family members. It is believed that this may cause some children to choose their right or left hand. However, this does not explain why right-handed parents can have left-handed children or vice versa.
Being Left-Handed Is A Good Different
There are studies that support the fact that left-handed people may think differently than right-handed people.
1. They May Be Quick Thinkers
There is a study that proves that the time taken for information to pass from one hemisphere to another in the brain is lesser in a left-handed individual than the transfer time taken in a right-handed individual.3 This means that the information is processed quicker in left-handed individuals.
2. They May Be Left-Favoring
Studies have shown that our handedness may play a role in governing our decisions as well. It showed that the left-handed people favored their dominant side i.e, their left. Studies have shown that right-handed people associate positive things to their right side and negative things to their left side. This is the opposite in the left-handed people.4
This can have an impact on the decisions they make, even if it is as simple as choosing an item in a store.
3. They May Excel In Some Sports
The left-handed people are at an advantage when it comes to interactive sports like boxing, fencing, tennis, and baseball. Studies say that they may have an upper hand in sports.5 However, this advantage does not come into play in noninteractive sports like diving and gymnastics.
We may conclude that since the left-handers seem to use their right hemisphere more than their left, it may be believed that left-handed people are more creative than the right-handed. As mentioned earlier, the right brain controls the creativity and artistic senses. However, more research is required to support this.
Growing up in a left-handed minority can be difficult, but that does not make you less than any individual. Here is a list of a few famous people who are left-handed: Angelina Jolie, Jim Carrey, Julia Roberts, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and others.
|↑1||One Brain…or Two?. Neuroscience For Kids.|
|↑2||Left-handedness. BetterHealth Channel.|
|↑3||Cherbuin, Nicolas, and Cobie Brinkman. “Hemispheric interactions are different in left-handed individuals.” Neuropsychology 20, no. 6 (2006): 700.|
|↑4||Stanford News. Stanford University.|
|↑5||Llaurens, Violaine, Michel Raymond, and Charlotte Faurie. “Why are some people left-handed? An evolutionary perspective.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 364, no. 1519 (2009): 881-894.|