Anybody who read that and understood is like me, a small part of the population who is left handed (10%). We have difficulties daily living in a right hand world. Did you know 85% of lefties consider themselves more awkward or clumsy than average? Compared to righties, us lefties score a tenth of a standard deviation lower on measures of cognitive skills. We also tend to have more learning disabilities such as dyslexia and score lower on standardized tests. Though scientists have yet to find an answer to what causes the “south paws” our brains explain a lot of our differences, what is inherited versus what is learned.
The right hemisphere is the non-dominant area for speech and language yet those who are right brain dominant tend to be left handed. Ever hear the saying “if the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, then only left handed people are in their right minds?” Yeah it sounds cute but what it really means for us lefties is we usually have impairments in perception, attention and language deficits compared to that of the right handers. Since right handers use more of their left side of the brain their language abilities are strong and make languages easier. The language system is complex. Not only does it involve speaking but also reading, writing and how we acquire new information.
Brain lateralization means each hemisphere has specialized functions like speech and language. In the standard right hander’s brains, the left hemisphere tends to be larger and more developed. Broca’s area and Wernicke’s are can be up to three times larger. The cortex is also found to be larger (which controls movement). The left side all together is bigger and the links more connected tend to lead to a quicker response time than that though the right hemisphere. As a leftie we are wired to be better at recognizing things, people, places, and a better understanding of spatial relations. With that we have a number of abilities and disabilities. Left brained people tend to be logical, rational and organized while right brain people are creative, imaginative and artsy like in fields such as architects or math you see a rise in left handedness (right hemisphere cognitive skills). We also see a higher number of learning disabilities.
Is there a single gene directed for this dominance? This is a question that has baffled scientist and as a leftie I can’t wait for more research to be done. No one in my family is left handed so I am curious how, why it happens. Am I really going to die younger? Lefties are prone to accidents, psychiatric disorders and neurological disorders! We make up a large statistic for a small group in a large population. We are weird, artistic, irregular, emotional and clumsy but we do have a special day for a reason (August 13th)!
For fun quiz!
Geschwind, N., & Behan, P. 1982. “Left-Handedness: Association with Immune Disease, Migraine, and Developmental Learning disorder.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 79(16).
Lindell, A. K. 2011. “Lateral Thinkers Are Not so Laterally Minded: Hemispheric Asymmetry, Interaction, and Creativity.” Laterality, 16(4).