WOO! A day, just for us! It’s International Left-Hander’s Day. 🙂 We’re pretty special people. We only make up about 10% of the world’s population.
Random lefty facts:
1. Left-handers, who account for around 10 percent of the world’s population, spend 364 days a year in a world that seems to be built for right-handed people. August 13 is the exception. In 1976, a special day was created just for lefties and now it is celebrated annually all over the world.
So if you don’t have sinistrophobia (that’s a fear of left-handedness or anything on the left side of your body), read on for some fun left-handed facts.
2. In sets of twins, there is a tendency for one of them to be left-handed.
3. Neurologists have said that left-handers are able to adjust to seeing underwater better than right-handers. Olympic swimming champion Mark Spitz happens to be a leftie.
4. There have been eight left-handed U.S. Presidents. For the record they are: James A. Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.
5. Left-handed? Then you are in some interesting company. Some famous lefties past and present include: Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie, Benjamin Franklin, Julius Caesar, Judy Garland, Jimmi Hendrix, Michelangelo, Marilyn Monroe, Jerry Seinfeld, Oscar de la Hoya and Babe Ruth. A much longer list can be found here.
Advantages of being a lefty:
- Being left handed is an advantage in many sports. You might just come out ahead in athletics if you’re a lefty. Since most players are right handed, many are unused to dealing with those who are left handed. Take baseball for instance. Southpaws have the advantage of already facing first base when they’re at bat, can more easily keep an eye on first base when pitching and can cover a large amount of the field when playing in the outfield by having their glove in their right hand. Other sports that offer an advantage to lefties are fencing, boxing and tennis.
- Lefties have a greater chance of being a genius– or having a high IQ.Researchers aren’t sure why, but those who are left handed seem to make up a disproportionately large part of those who are highly intelligent. For example, twenty percent of all Mensa members are left-handed. When you consider that less than 10 percent of the total population is left handed, this makes for a lot of smart lefties. Some think this genius stems from being forced to use both sides of the brain more often, allowing these individuals to more easily process a large amount of information.
- Left handed men may make more money. All that genius has to lead to something, right? According to studies, left handed males who have gone to college earn 13 percent more than their right handed counterparts. The causes of this difference are unknown, but the gap is statistically significant enough that its not a simple anomaly. Oddly enough, however, the results are quite different for women, with lefties earning 5% less than women who are right handed.
- Left handed people adjust more easily to seeing underwater. Bizarre as it may sound, one of the benefits of being left handed is being able to adjust more easily to see the world around you when you’re underwater. While you may not need this ability very often, it could come in handy if you live by the sea or enjoy swimming. While it’s not quite clear why this is so, scientists think it has something to do with a different part of the brain being dominant in left handed individuals.
- Lefties are better able to multitask. One of the advantages of being left-handed is that it forces your brain to think more quickly. What this means for everyday life is that those who are lefties may find it easier to multi-task and deal with a large, sometimes unorganized stream of information. Researchers found that conversations between the left and right sides of the brain happen more quickly in left handed people. The more dominant the left handedness is, the better these abilities are.
- Some left-handed individuals have better memories. While it isn’t true for all who are left handed, data from recent studies suggests that those who come from families of lefties tend to have better memories, though only of the episodic kind. The odd thing about this study, however, was that individuals didn’t necessarily need to be left-handed themselves to have a better memory– just come from a family of lefties. These studies show that traits related to handedness may be passed down separately, though some lefties would prefer to think that their left-handed benefits just rubbed off on their right-handed counterparts.
- Generally, lefties are better at playing video games. Some of the traits that make lefties better thinkers and multitaskers also make them better at playing video games. Research conducted by Dr. Nick Cherbuin shows that lefties are better at handing large amounts of stimuli, making them naturally better at killing zombies, playing virtual tennis or fighting off alien hordes in the virtual world.
- Left handed stroke victims recover faster than right handed stroke victims. While the reasons behind this aren’t entirely clear, some believe it’s due to left handed people having to strengthen both sides of the brain when navigating a right handed world. Because many lefties are better able to use their non-dominant hand, it is easier for them to recover from a stroke that damages one part of their brain. Of course, recovery for those suffering from a stroke is never easy, no matter which is their dominant hand.
- Left-handed people are likely to be more visual than language-based, making them ideal for artistic pursuits. Research has shown that university students are more likely to major in visually-based, as opposed to language-based, subjects when they’re left handed. While another study — not comprehensive at only 103 students — showed that within the sample, 47% of art students were left- or mixed-handed. If you want to be an artist this is an amazing benefit, putting you in the likes of greats like Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Rembrandt.
- Southpaw drivers are more successful at learning to drive than right handed people. If driving came easy to you, it might have a good deal to do with your left-handedness. A driving school poll found that 57% of left handers passed their driving test first time compared with only 47% of right handers. This is pretty amazing, considering that most cars are designed with right handed individuals in mind.
- Being a lefty is super cool! 🙂
- I’ve never had the hand-smudging-the-previously-written-words problem. I hold my pen the same that a right-handed person does. Just in the other hand. I don’t bend my wrist to curve my hand in.
- Scissors are not a problem for me. Actually, I use pretty much everything made for right-handed people without a problem.
- Manual can openers are a challenge for me. Somehow, I make it work. It’s not a huge deal.
- Those chairs with the desk attached to the right… Though it’s kind of annoying that there are rarely lefty versions, the right one was always fine for me. I just twisted my body a bit, and it worked. I like twisting my body to the side anyway. *shrugs*
- I remember when teachers would arrange desks so that we sat in squares. Two desks, side-by-side, flush against each other, facing another two desks. Being on the right would suck because I’d knock elbows with the right-handed person next to me. Fun times.
- Both of my parents are right-handed. In our household, my brother was the weird one. Funny, right?! (Actually, I just looked this up. Apparently, two right-handed parents have a 2% chance of producing a left-handed child; two left-handed parents have a 50% chance of producing a left-handed child.)