If You’re Lefty and You Know It


This might sound weird but I take pride in being left handed. Probably because we are a rare species of humans. Especially when only two other people in my family are also. They are both on my father’s side of the family; my grandfather and one of my male cousins. I see it as a novelty. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely used to get on my nerves in middle school when I would write my notes in pencil and the lead you leave a big smudge on the side of my hand and smeared letters on my paper. But I really do love it about myself. Makes me feel special. It got me to wondering the differences between being either left or right handed?

I didn’t realize that only about 10% of the population is left handed. We live in a predominately right handed world. Which apparently can have subtle Dr. Ronald Yeo, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas- Austin says that during fetal development that hand dominance is determined pretty early. So does genetics come into play when it comes to an individual being either left or right handed? Well apparently genetics are only 25% responsible, according to Yeo. However, it does run in families but its not as dominate as height and intelligence. This makes sense to me because there such a small group of us in my family who are left handed. It makes me wonder the likely hood that my kids, when I have them, will be left handed. There even seems to be a lot of theories about what determines a persons writing hand is. Many experts feel that it is really a matter of chance. One theory in particular that I found interesting is from a British study that found that super-stressed women who are pregnant can cause a fetus to touch their faces with their left hands more than their right hand. This website suggests that our internal workings and fine motor skills prove that a lot of our anatomy is not as balanced as we assume it to be. Gina Grimshaw, who is the director of Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, says that more people that are right handed use the left side of their brains, which is where language is processed. However, that does not mean that left handed people use the right side of their brains. What I’ve found from talking to people is that when they were little they wrote with one hand but then their parents corrected them and conditioned them to write with the opposite (mostly from left to right handed). But that is more along the lines of cultural norms and superstition.

So it seems that there really is no way to determine why people are left handed or right handed. It can be looked as a matter of one or the other.

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