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12 Surprising Facts About Left-Handed People

Lefties rejoice! Tuesday, August 13th is Left Handers Day, a day to celebrate a longstanding victory over scissors and years of magic marker smudges on our elementary school papers. Let’s all give one another one big, giant, left-handed fist bump.

We lefties comprise just about 10% of the world’s population, a percentage that has remained steady for the last 30,000 years. While just 1 in 10 humans are lefties, research shows that several animal species (such as cats, rats and mice) have an equal percentage of favoritism toward the right and left paw. As for us humans, here are some amazingly fun facts you may not have known about southpaws:

  • 12 Amazing Facts About Lefties 1 of 13
    12 Amazing Facts about Lefties
  • Visual-spatial tasks 2 of 13
    Visual Spatial Tasks

    Lefties tend to excel in visual-spatial tasks (such as fine arts and architecture), while righties are overrepresented in math and science. Though it is interesting that 4 of the 5 original designers of the Macintosh computer were left-handed.

  • Higher IQs 3 of 13
    Higher IQ

    Lefties seem to be overrepresented among geniuses. According to research done at St. Lawrence University in New York, there were more left-handed people with IQs over 140 than right-handed people. Considering that Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Benjamin Franklin were all lefties, it is hard to disagree with history.

  • Tell-tale signs 4 of 13
    Tell-tale signs

    If you are curious whether your baby is going to be a leftie, take a close look at your ultrasounds. They show that 90% of babies in the womb seem to favor the right thumb, which is the same percentage of righties in the population. Also, when babies in a study were placed on their tummies, the right-handed babies turn their heads to the right, while the left-handed babies either favored the left side or put their heads to either side without a preference.

  • Twinsies 5 of 13
    Twinsies

    One other potential sign of having a left-handed baby is the age of the mother. When expectant mothers are over 40 the babies are over 125% more likely to be left-handed. Oh, and if you are expecting twins, you should know that there is a high tendency for one twin to be left-handed.

  • Figure drawing 6 of 13
    left-hander boy is drawing

    Most left-handers draw figures who are facing to the right and have difficulty drawing profiles of faces that are facing toward the left.

    (I never realized this until I started reading about lefties, but I am actually incapable of drawing a figure who is facing to the left!)

  • Strike a pose 7 of 13
    Strike a pose

    It is well-known in baseball that left-handed batters seem to have more trouble hitting off left-handed pitchers than right-handed batters do against right-handed pitchers. Based on this theory, many hours of coaching strategy are spent each season planning strategic matchups.

  • The Lefties Advantage 8 of 13
    Sporty woman serves tennis ball

    Three other sports where lefties have a known advantage are tennis, fencing, and boxing. Tennis champion Rafael Nadal famously "became" a left-handed tennis player as a child, when his uncle who coached him thought it would help give him an advantage on the court. Apparently that strategy has paid off.

  • Marco Polo 9 of 13
    Marco Polo

    Left-handers adjust more readily to seeing underwater. This may not be earth-shattering to you, but to a kid playing Marco Polo in the pool, it could mean everything.

  • Entrance to adulthood 10 of 13
    Entrance to Adulthood

    Left-handers usually reach puberty 4 to 5 months after right-handers. We're not sure if this one is a blessing, a curse, or completely irrelevant to anything.

  • Brilliant minds and awesome celebs 11 of 13
    Famous lefties

    What do Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Bill Gates, Leonardo Da Vinci, and four of the last seven presidents have in common? You guessed it. They were/are left-handed.

    Image Source: Wikimedia

  • Even, Steven 12 of 13
    Even Steven

    Physically, lefties' bodies may be more balanced. Research shows that righties are more sensitive to their right side, while lefties show more evenness between sides. For example, lefties tend to perform better using their right hand than vice versa. Also, lefties' arms are more likely to be even in strength and size while for righties their right arm is typically stronger and larger. However, in terms of favoring one side over the other, we all become more ambidextrous as we get older.

  • Better, not bitter 13 of 13
    Leftie Power

    Lefties love to brag. In fact, according to a recent survey, southpaws are generally more attractive, more intelligent, and more talented than right handers. Well, at least according to a survey given to lefties!

    Hey, can you blame us for trying?

 

Sources: Live Science, Random Facts, The Dana Foundation, Anthropological Review, Taylor Francis Online, Research Digest, New York Times, British Journal of Sports Medicine

Jessica also recently wrote:

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Read more from Jessica at FoundtheMarbles.com.  And be sure to follow her on Twitter too!

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