What The Left Doesn’t Know

Written By: The Lowdown - Aug• 01•13

Cover - 2013-08Being left-handed in a right handed world is the burden that I, together with my fellow left-handers have to bear. With International Left-Handers Day on 13 August, what better time than to highlight some of the facts and to debunk some of the fallacies about Left Handers.

Globally, roughly 12% of men and 10% of women are left-handed. Handedness, or the dominance of one hand over the other, is a clear indication that our brains are wired slightly differently to the other 90% of the population.

What causes left-handedness is not clearly understood although researchers believe it is partly to do with genetics and partly to do with environmental factors, especially stress, in the womb. Mothers experiencing high levels of stress whilst pregnant are more likely to produce a left-handed child.

Generally speaking, researchers have found that there is no significant difference in IQ between righties and lefties, although there is some evidence that lefties are better at divergent thinking, a method of idea generation that explores many possible solutions, or starting from existing knowledge to develop new concepts; in other words, creativity. Yet research conducted by Harvard University found that in USA, left-handed people have salaries that on average are about 10% lower than their right handed colleagues. Is this not a case of discrimination against a minority?

People who are using their left hands when listening may more easily hear rapidly changing sounds than those who are using their right hands. Researchers have found that the left and right hemispheres of the brain specialise in different kinds of sounds with the left hemisphere preferring rapidly changing sounds like consonants, while the right hemisphere likes slowly changing sounds, like syllables or intonation.

About 20 percent of people with schizophrenia dominantly use their left hands. Research shows that left handers have an increased risk for dyslexia, ADHD, and certain mood disorders. So it’s not my fault that I wake up grumpy every morning! However, left handers seem to have lower rates of arthritis and ulcers.

People who use their left hands tend to be more affected by fear than people who use their right hands. Research seems to indicate that the right hemisphere of the brain appears to be involved in fear and after watching a frightening movie, left handers were more likely to show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Left handers get angrier too and research shows they have a more difficult time processing their feelings, especially after an argument. Left handed people, whilst not more prone to alcoholism, do drink more often. What, is the entire Zambian population left handed?

Over the last century, much time and effort has been spent on alleviating the plight of minorities. Yet left handers have remained ignored and disadvantaged with all manner of goods being manufactured for the right handed of this world including pens, pencil sharpeners, spiral bound notebooks, tin openers, computer keyboards with the number pad on the right side and cheque books with counterfoils that are impossible to complete – why can’t the banks print them sideways? Even the safety switches on most machines in wood and metal shops are positioned to be quickly accessible to right-handed people.

It is time left handers stood up for their rights!


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.