The Science of Left-Handed People

Left-Handedness Hints At Brain Communication

Individuals who favor their left hand make up only 10 percent of the population, but hand dominance is more complicated than a child simply choosing between the right or left hand to develop and use. Left-handedness is actually a complicated neurological phenomenon that has fascinated psychologists and brain surgeons for years.

Scientists have two theories as to why a large majority of the population favors their right hand yet left-handedness still persists. One theory is that left-handedness is genetic and can be passed on from the father. This particular gene, LRRTM1, is connected to other various genes that influence asymmetries in the brain and body. The second theory is that right-handedness developed out of natural selection where those with strong language control via a stronger left-hemisphere were able to flourish and survive.

Left-handedness, or “southpaws,” is most common in males, as well as more common in those who experience a neurological disorder such as dyslexia, mental retardation, schizophrenia, and autism. This does not mean that those who are left-handed are mentally ill. Studies regarding hand dominance have helped open up a world of possibilities and correlations between brain hemispheres.

When it comes to muscle movement, it is your brain that does 75 percent of the work. One side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body, therefore the left side of your brain communicates with the right side of your body and vice-versa. This is called a reverse division of labor and doctors believe that this helps the brain to work more efficiently and conserve energy by preventing the hemispheres from competing for dominance.

What Pop-Culture Gets Wrong

Despite popular culture’s teachings that the analytical use their left hemisphere more and creative favor their right hemisphere, people do not largely favor one side of the brain more than the other. Particular hemispheres of the brain house specific duties, which everyone uses such as verbal processing, facial recognition, and visuospatial abilities.  In right-handed people, these areas of the brain are usually in the same places no matter the person, yet some left-handed people tend to have these functions in different hemispheres.

With right-handedness making up more than 90 percent of the population, left-handed people live in a right-hand dominated world. Many objects are made with right-handed people in mind. Objects like spiral notebooks, scissors, school desks, and even game controllers. While left-handed people may struggle with everyday objects, they have their own talents. Lefties can have an advantage during fights because lefties get more practice with righties than the other way around. In addition, it is argued that left-handed people are more intelligent, but there is only a correlation between intelligence and left-handedness not causation. Many of our last few presidents have been left-handed, and other famous people were left-handed such as Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin.

To read more about psychological and neurological advancements in science, visit our blog. If you or someone you know is dealing with a mental disorder such as ADD or bipolar disorder,  contact The Holiner Group today to schedule an evaluation.

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