Monday, 23 May 2011

The Advantages of Being Left Handed

Only about 10% of the population are left handed, making left-handed people a major minority. With left handedness being so rare people were, and still are in some cases, discriminated against for being left handed. Actually, back in the 18th and 19th century people were often beaten for being left handed and forced to use their right hand. Even today, although it doesn't happen as often as it used to, some children who are left-handed are forced to use their right hand. More often than not when you research facts about left-handed people many blogs and articles list negative statistical facts about left handed people. But what about the advantages of being left-handed? Believe it or not there are a lot of interesting and factual advantages of being left-handed.
  1. Being left handed gives you an advantage in many sports. It's been proven that people who are left handed have the better chance of succeeding in sports than right handed people. Baseball is one of the biggest sports where being left handed is a major advantage. When at bat, southpaws have the advantage of already facing first base and when pitching can easily keep an eye on first base. Left handed player, when playing in the outfield, can also cover a large amount of the field by having their glove in their right hand. Lefties also have the advantage in sports like fencing, boxing and tennis.
  2. Lefties have a greater chance of being a genius, or having a high IQ. It isn't known why this is true but it seems that people who favor their left hand make up an extremely large portion of those with high intelligence. Actually, 20 percent of all Mensa members are lefties. Although it is not exactly known why being left handed increases chances of having a high IQ, some people think that genius has a lot to do with being forced to use both sides of the brain more often, allowing the individual to process large amounts of information much easier.
  3. Left handed men make more money. Studies show that left handed men who have gone to college make about 13% more than their right handed counterparts. For some reason this does not work the same way with women, because these same studies show that left handed women actually make 5% less than right handed women.
  4. Lefties adjust more easily to seeing under water. Random, yes. Cool, definitely! It's not really known why, but being left handed allows an individual to see more easily under water. Beneficial to those who live by the water or like to swim, scientists believe this ability has something to do with a different part of the brain being dominant in left handed people.
  5. Lefties are better at multitasking. Being left handed forces the brain to think more quickly, allowing lefties to find it easier to multi-task and deal with large, sometimes unorganized streams of information. In left handed people conversations between the left and right sides of the brain happens more quickly, and the stronger the left handedness is the better these abilities.
  6. Some lefties have better memories. Although not applicable to all left handed people, research shows that people who come from families of lefties  tend to have better memories, though only of the episodic kind. But what's really interesting about this fact is that studies show that the individuals don't necessarily have to be left handed themselves, but just comes from a family of lefties. This shows that traits related to handedness may actually be passed down separately.
  7. Left handed people are better at playing video games. Some of the traits that contribute to lefties being better thinkers and multitaskers also contribute to making them better video game players. Since lefties are better at handling large amounts of stimuli, this naturally makes them better at video games, which have large amounts of stimuli in the first place.
  8. Left handed people recover faster from strokes than right handed people. Although not certain, many people believe this is due to left handed people having a stronger left and right brain as a result of functioning in a right handed world. Lefties are better at using than non-dominant hand than right handed people, making it easier for them to recover from a stroke that damages one part of their brain.
  9. Left-handed people are more likely to be more visual-based than language-based. This fact makes lefties more ideal for artistic pursuits. Research shows that university students who are left handed are more likely to major in visually based subjects rather than language based subjects. Another study done showed that out of all the subjects, 47% of art students were left or mixed-handed. For those who are unaware Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Rembrandt, four of the greatest artists in history were either left handed or ambidextrous.
  10. Lefties are better at learning to drive than righties. Oddly enough, even though most cars are designed with right handed drivers in mind, driving normally comes easier to left handed people than right handed people. A poll done at a driving school discovered that 57% of lefties passed their driving test the first time while only 47% of right handed people did.
Despite the fact that being left handed in a right handed world can be a little disadvantage, there are definitely plenty of advantages of being a lefty. As you can tell by reading the list, there are many things about why left handedness has these advantages, but this applies to handedness in general. Understanding handedness would also mean understanding deeper, yet explored parts of the brain that science isn't fully capable of doing yet. Although not all of the advantages listed could be fully determined as to why they occur, everything listed is in fact true. Being left handed is often treated as something wrong and abnormal because it is rare and not fully understood, but as you can see being left handed does have its advantages, very cool ones at that! 

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