Our hands are truly astounding instruments. They can grip, slap, tug, feel, and everything in between. From our fingertips to our flexible wrists, our hands are by far the most versatile and used part that the body has to offer. Each and every day, we use our hands all the time. Some to strengthen their speech through gestures, others to demonstrate abilities and knowledge. There are innumerably varying ways we use our hands on the constant.
This week, I want to talk about a very interesting peculiarity of our hands: the trait of dominant handedness.
It’s astounding to realize that only a mere ten to fifteen percent of the entire human population is left-handed. (Makes a righty like me feel very run of the mill…) Scientists believe that this is mainly a result of genetics and biology. In fact, Doctor Clare Porac, a respected source on this subject (and also a professor at one of our sister branches, Penn State Behrend Campus!) believes that the great prevalence of right-handedness is completely due to the process of human evolution.
“Because the left hemisphere also controls the movements of the right hand–and notably the movements needed to produce written language–millennia of evolutionary development resulted in a population of humans that is biased genetically toward individuals with left hemisphere speech/language and right-hand preference. Approximately 85 percent of people are right-handed. These theories also try to explain the persistent and continuing presence of a left-handed minority (about 15 percent of humans).”
So yeah, we get it. Left handed people are really rare. So what’s the big deal?
As with anything rare and exotic (yes to all the left handed, I just referred to you as exotic), left handed people are a natural source of interest to people who, being right handed, want to know all about things that are mysterious and elusive to them. This causes a lot of silly myths to arise, and amusing questions to be asked on search engines.
So how about we cut to the chase and talk some hardcore left hand facts, shall we?
Throughout history, left handedness has been mistaken as a defect or issue, and has been viewed in a negative light. For instance, “the word left in English comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lyft, which means weak or broken. The Oxford English Dictionary defines left-handed as meaning crippled, defective, awkward, clumsy, inapt, characterized by underhanded dealings, ambiguous, doubtful, questionable, ill-omened, inauspicious, and illegitimate.” (Via here!) Rough crowd.
I guess these people failed to realize that a whole bunch of incredibly genius historical figures, such as Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, and Ben Franklin, were left handed. Also, it’s notably more prevalent for the left handed to have I.Q.’s of over 140. In addition to this, studies show that lefties are also potentially more creative and artistic, as well as being better at mathematics, architecture, and being spatially aware!
It’s sort of hard to actually do research on the trait of left-handedness. There’s an awful lot of folk lore-ish gibberish, and surprisingly a lot of “lefties are of the devil” sort of nonsense, which is absurd and hilarious!
Basically, our hands are phenomenal and complex, and the fact that different hemispheres of the brain determine which hand we use the most just makes the topic all the more awesome. It also apparently causes for interesting speculations.
Show your lefties and your righties some love today, everyone!