Dear Lefties: It’s official! You are very special, according to science.
Throughout history, being left-handed has been viewed as a weakness or something to overcome. Heck, just 20 years ago, studies said that left-handed people die sooner and are prone to more accidents. Why? It’s not your fault, lefties—you’re living in a world built for right-handed people!
Doors are made for the right hand. Simple household items like scissors and can openers are made for the right hand. Even writing in English is worse for lefties (but at least they can write in Hebrew).
But, new studies have revealed some interesting facts about left-handedness. And, it turns out there are some serious perks to being a leftie—including a higher likelihood of excelling at sports and been better problem-solvers (take that, righties!). Read on for some fun facts about and great perks of being left-handed.
1. We Don’t Know Why Left-Handed People Exist
In spite of a good deal of research over the years, there still isn’t a definitive answer as to why some humans are left-handed. It could be partly hereditary from the mother’s side of the family tree. Another theory is that if there is more testosterone in the womb, there’s a greater chance the baby will be left-handed. In one study, twins were twice as likely to be left-handed as compared to the rest of the world.
2. We Don’t Know Exactly How Many Left-Handed People Are On Earth
Various studies estimate that between 5 and 26 percent of the population is left-handed. But those numbers depend on the culture and region where the study was conducted.
3. Lefties Are More Likely To Be Good At Sports
About 25 percent of all MLB players are left-handed (or “southpaws”). And, baseball’s not the only sport that’s advantageous for lefties. Interactive sports like tennis give lefties the upper hand. In fact, a whopping 40 percent of top tennis players are left-handed. Since left-handed athletes’ movements are different, opponents aren’t used to reacting to them. Athletes are built on routines, and when you disrupt their routine, it throws off their game.
4. Left-Handedness Has Never Become Extinct
Back in the day, left-handed students were forced to write with their right hands in an attempt to correct what was seen as a problem. Even with these questionable practices going on, the trait of left-handedness has not died. Instead of survival of the fittest, left-handedness is sort of a “survival of the unexpected.” For instance, in primitive cultures, 27 percent of people living in war-like regions were left-handed, compared to 3 percent in peaceful regions. That’s probably because the right-handed fighters never saw the left hook coming.
5. Left-Handers Are Better Problem Solvers
Scientists believe lefties are better at divergent thinking, or coming up with multiple solutions to a problem. As a result, they are more likely than right-handed counterparts to pursue careers in science, art and technology. Famous lefties who made names for themselves in those fields include Marie Curie, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Pablo Picasso, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman and Jean-Paul Gaultier—an impressive lineup!
6. Left-Handedness Can Be Predicted Before Birth
Doctors can tell if a baby is left-handed through ultrasound. Most babies, or 90 percent of them, move their right arm and suck on their right thumb in the womb. That other 10 percent? Future lefties!
7. Lefties Are In Very Good Company
While studies about whether left-handed people are quicker and more creative thinkers are inconclusive, there is anecdotal evidence that lefties are very smart. Famous left-handed brainiacs include Albert Einstein, President Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Neil Armstrong. Not bad company to keep!
8. Most Left-Handed People Are Born In Late Spring To Early Summer
One studied showed that most lefties were born between March and July. From this information, we can deduce that most lefties were conceived between June and October.