Why is the Right Side, the Right Side?

In the US, about 90% of the population is right handed. This is a common trend throughout history. This article is a tough read, but is very informative on the history of handedness. How can this be with something so simple as a dominant hand? The numbers are staggering in the right side’s advantage. What causes such a big difference though?

This photo is from https://marriottmag.files.wordpress.com

Many believe that it has to do with our brain and genes, but just a quick look at those numbers on this chart seems to suggest that there is something else that may be effecting these numbers. How come the percentage of right handed people is almost 100% in those Asian countries. I decided to ask my roommate, if he knew why this was because he and his family are originally from Vietnam. He explained to me how in there culture people have believed that there is something wrong with left handed people. His mother was originally left handed, but she was made to use her right hand, and now she can write with both hands. This article agrees with his claims, but this can’t account for such a widespread gap. Or can it?

This photo is from http://ww2.kqed.org

It could be possible that we are genetically made up to more likely be a righty vs. a lefty. How can this be? Is it possible that being left handed is a recessive trait for this gene? This can’t be completely true because that means that, if a left handed person has a kid with another lefty, then their kid must be left handed. Dr. Gupta explains how this isn’t true, and in fact they still would only have a 26% chance of having a left handed child. This isn’t the only proposal that has to deal with genes. Other ideas aren’t quite as simple especially for people not interested in science. Simply put, some researchers believe that we can get 1 of 2 genes. The one gene causes us to be right handed and the other gene causes us to have a 50% chance at being right handed. This could explain the disparity in the number of right handed people vs. left handed people.

The bottom line is that we don’t know why there are so many more right handed people than left handed people. There are many theories to explain it, but they are not proven. I personally believe that it is a combination of these theories that makes such a huge disparity between left handed and right handed people.

Fun fact:

Throughout this blog you can see the pattern of most humans being right handed, but in the National Hockey League (NHL) almost two thirds of the league shoots with their left hand. This doesn’t make sense since 90% of the population is right handed. This is because in Canada most coaches teach kids to use their less dominant hand, so they will be able to be a better all around player. Approximately half the NHL is Canadian. Many other countries are starting to adopt this theory too, so we may see these numbers rise.

This photo is from http://www.thehockeyman.com

3 thoughts on “Why is the Right Side, the Right Side?

  1. Madeline Elizabeth Dittrich

    This blog is very interesting because I have personal experience with a left-handed person. My younger sister is left-handed, and she always had problems using every day items. I never used to think that left handed people would have so many issues. My sister even had to buy her own ‘left-handed scissors’ because regular scissors, designed for people who use their right hand, were too difficult for her to cut with. Things in this world are designed for right handed people, just because there are so many more right handers than left handers.

  2. Robert McCarthy

    I’ve talked about handedness in a blog post before, the post relating to physical traits and their correlation to leadership abilities. Interestingly enough, if you are a lefty your odds of becoming the president are higher than those who are right handed! According to an article by the Toronto Star (https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2008/03/02/odds_are_next_us_president_will_be_lefthanded.html), 5 out of the last 7 presidents have all been left handed. That is 71%, very disproportionate to the 12% of the general population that is left handed. Why this occurs is unclear, perhaps it looks more presidential to sign with the left hand than with the right but I’m not sure.

    1. Thomas John Krieger Post author

      I also saw similar articles about the presidents being left handed. One article that I happened to see gave their theory on differences in the brain. They believe that it may have something to do with what side of the brain that we use for talking. More left handed people use the right side of the brain for talking, but the numbers aren’t as staggering as right handed people using the left side of their brain.

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