Left Handed Facts
- Left handed people make up 15% of the population.
- Handedness is the better, faster, or more precise performance of a hand.
- Your preferred hand is called the “dominant hand.”
- Ambidexterity is the equal mastery of both hands.
- Cross-dominance is the change of hand preference in certain tasks.
- It is still debated how handedness is caused in humans.
- According to a study, handedness in the womb was a very accurate predictor of handedness after birth.
- 39% of infants (6 to 14 months) and 97% of toddlers (18 to 24 months) demonstrated hand preference.
- It is theorized that lefties have a different brain organization compared to righties – either their hemispheres are reversed, or both function equally.
- If both parents are left-handed, there is a 26% chance the child will be left handed.
- Increased single hand grasping activities such as writing or coloring can force children to develop a hand preference.
- Left-handedness has been associated with increased rates of terminal and mental illnesses, and even earlier death.
- Left handed women are more prone to breast cancer.
- The Latin word for left (sinister) also means unlucky, evil, and suspicious.
- 23% more men are left-handed.
- Left-handedness may give people advantages in sports.
- Left-handed people have historically been considered unlucky or even malicious.
- Kangaroos and other macropod marsupials show a left-hand preference for everyday tasks in the wild.
- Scientists suspect that more people are born left-handed and switch to be righties later on in life.
- Seven of the 29 astronauts on the Apollo space mission were lefties.
Left handed people have always been a mystery. Up to now, it’s still uncertain how they came to be. However, these left handed facts will set the record straight on the myths and truths about these rare people.
International Left-Handers Day is on August 13.
The International Left-Handers Day is an unofficial holiday established in 1992, with the club itself founded in 1990.
836,000,000 people are left handed.
Out of 7.6 billion people, almost 900 million are left handed.
Mothers over 40 may be more likely to have left-handed babies.
A study in New England found that among 2,228 college students, those whose mothers had them after 40 were 2 times more likely to be left-handed.
Wedding rings are traditionally worn on the left hand, at the 3rd ring finger.
Ancient Greeks believed that a “lover’s vein” connected the fourth finger on the left hand to the heart.
Juniata College in Huntington, Pennsylvania offers scholarships for left handed people.
The school grants up to $1,500 in academic scholarships to left-handed students with top academic records.
Twins are more likely to be left-handed.
In 1996, a Belgian study on 1,700 pairs of twins found that nearly 21% were left-handed. This is 5% more than the general population of lefties.
“Left” comes from the Old English word lyft, which means "weak."
Ouch, ye olde English.
Lefties are more likely than righties to drink.
A survey on 25,000 people from 12 countries reached this conclusion. However, this doesn’t mean lefties are more prone to be alcoholics. They just drink more regularly, but rarely in excess.
Many lefties learn to be ambidextrous.
Since historically, society hasn’t been too cool with left handed people – and most items are made for right handed people – lefties often exhibit ambidexterity or at least cross-dominance. (Which is true – I’m a lefty but I play guitar right-handed and prefer to open jars with my right hand. Woah.)
Veterinarian Janice Lloyd suggests that man’s best friends are lefties, too.
Her research found that nearly 50% of dogs favored their left paw.
Lefties in the British royal family include the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and Prince William.
Since left-handedness is partially hereditary, it is no surprise that so many members of the British Royal Family are left-handed. But it is certainly interesting to note that the current monarch and both the first and second in line for the throne are all left-handed.
There's a place called Left Hand.
This town in West Virginia got its name from a nearby creek called Lefthand Run, not the left-handed community.
6 out of 12 U.S. presidents were left handed.
Left handed presidents include: Barack Obama, James Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.
Women who were depressed or stressed during their pregnancies were more likely to have mixed- or left-handed kids.
The research suggests that a fetus can detect when a mother is stressed and responds to this stress.
Lefties are more prone to sleep problems.
94 percent of left handed sleepers exhibited limb movements (which can be an indicator of periodic limb movement disorder) compared to right handed sleepers’ 69 percent.
Left handedness can affect school performance.
An Australian study on children 11 and below found that left-handed kids performed worse than right-handers in terms of vocabulary, reading, writing, social development, and gross and fine motor skills.
Lefties may be more prone to serious mental health disorders
According to a Yale study, those with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia are much more likely to be left-handed.
Lefties are twice as likely to suffer from bowel problems than righties.
A 2001 British study found that left handed people were more likely to have Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Lefties don’t really die earlier.
Several studies have debunked these claims, and scientists now accept that handedness has no effect on one’s lifespan.
Left-handers are more likely to display symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
A 2007 Scottish study found that lefties have more negative emotions after watching clips from a scary movie.
Left-handed people's salaries were, on average, 9 to 19% lower than their right-handed peers.
The researcher also found that left-handers were more likely to not attend or to drop out of college, and work in less cognitively demanding jobs. However, some studies also showed that left handed people earn more.
The ancient Celts associated the left with femininity.
For the Celts, women were the source of all life. Thus, they worshipped the left side and saw it as sacred.
In Jewish scripture, Yetzer ra (an inclination toward wickedness) appears on the left.
The Old Testament states that humans have two impulses called “yetzer.” Yetzer tov, an inclination toward good, appears on the right.
It is a rule with the Muslims to honor the right hand above the left.
In his 1836 book, An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, E.W. Lane wrote the Muslim tradition to use the right hand for all honorable purposes, and the left for necessary yet “unclean” actions.
Zulu tribes would pour boiling water into a hole and place a child’s left hand into it to prevent its use.
Robert Hertz, a French sociologist noted this tribal practice in his travels to southern Africa.
In the Spanish Inquisition, the Catholic Church would condemned left handed people.
In Christian gospel, the left is associated with the devil. As such, they would persecute and even execute left handed people on occasion.
Lefties are kinky, supposedly.
A 2008 study found that paraphilias (atypical sexual interests) have been linked to higher rates of left-handedness.
The French word for left (gauche) means clumsy.
Something’s telling me these double meanings aren’t a coincidence.
A left-handed baseball pitcher is called a southpaw.
The term “southpaw” originates from the position where a left-handed pitcher facing west has their pitching arm toward the south of the diamond.
Burger King made a left handed burger.
In a 1998 full-page ad on USA Today, Burger King claimed it developed the “left-handed whopper.” AKA, a burger with the same fixings, but turned 180 degrees to not drip on left-handed customers. What a strange April Fools prank.
The Peoples of the Andes consider left handed people to have spiritual abilities.
For the Incan civilization and its descendants, left-handers have been called lloq’e.
The left hand represents wisdom in Tantra Buddhism.
On the other hand (pun intended), the right represents skillful, focused method of action and the active male principle. Buddhism also associates the left hand with femininity.
It is bad luck to meet a left-handed person at the start of a journey in Scotland.
Don’t worry, though. It’s only in some parts of the country.
Handling eating utensils with the left hand is considered impolite in some parts of Asia.
Imagine peacefully having your meal and being judged for it!
It is considered rude to eat with the left hand in India and Indonesia.
This is because Hinduism and Islam typically share the belief that the left hand is unsanitary.
A study in Taiwan showed that 59.3% of children were forced to convert from left-handedness.
Asia is notorious for collectivist societies, and this 2007 study shows how some parents might force their children to change handedness.
The frequency of left-handed writing in the United States, was only 2.1 percent in 1932.
After more accessibility and acceptance for left handedness, it quickly rose to 11% in the following years.
At some point in Japan, women were afraid their husbands would divorce them for being left handed.
Japanese psychiatrist Soichi Hakozaki noted this in his work, The World of Left-Handers.
Left handed or ambidextrous firearms are more limited and hard to obtain.
Issues with using a right handed firearm with your left hand could be possible shrapnel in your face/chest area from the shells.
In Turkey, the word for left is sol, which means "discolor", "die", and "ill".
Meanwhile, the word for right is sağ, which means “alive”.
In English, having “two left feet” refers to a lack of coordination in football or dancing.
If you’re a clumsy dancer, you’ve got two left feet.
If you want to have a good day in Hungary, don’t use your left foot.
In Hungary, the expression “bal lábbal kelt fel” (to get up with the left foot) means having a bad day and doing everything wrong.