Humans love to mythologize unique traits, and this is true for people who are left-handed. Chances are, you've encountered the idea that left-handed people are more creative or free-thinking, but these scientific facts about left-handed people may cause you to rethink everything you know about lefties. In this case, the realities about life for left-handed people are even more interesting than their myths.
Making up about 10 percent of the population, left-handed people are sometimes overlooked or misunderstood by the right-handed people of the world, according to Huff Post. After all, it wasn't too long ago that left-handed kids were punished during writing exercises. Seriously, left-handed people were considered sinister or even practitioners of witchcraft in past years, as noted in Time magazine. Although your left-handed neighbor probably won't be accused of witchcraft any time soon (hopefully), there are still plenty of misunderstandings about life for lefties.
That's why it's so important to consider left-handedness from a factual, scientific point of view. Left-handed people are different in some ways, it's true, but it has more to do with the brain's wiring or cultural influences than anything else. To be honest, a lot of the reasons behind these facts are not yet fully understood. Still, the facts about left-handed people are pretty mind-blowing in their own right.
1. Males Are Slightly More Likely To Be Left-Handed
Left-handed women are extra-rare. Men are about 2 percent more likely to be left-handed than women, according to a meta-analysis of 144 handedness studies, according to the American Psychological Association. The reason behind this difference, and whether it's more based in genetics or culture, is still under investigation.
2. Twins Are More Likely To Be Left-Handed
Twins are already exceptional because they have a real-life double, but their uniqueness extends to hand preference as well. About 17 percent of twins are both left-handed, reported the Washington State Twin Registry, which is about 7 percent above the general population rate for left-handedness. In an even more interesting twist, however, about 21 percent of sets of twins include one left-handed person and one right-handed person, as further noted by the Washington State Twin Registry. With this in mind, it looks like handedness is not entirely genetic, because identical twins share the same genes.
3. Left-Handed People May Experience Sleep Disorders Differently
Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), which causes rhythmic bodily movements and disrupts sleep, tends to affect left-handed people differently. Left-handed people are likely to experience periodic limb movements on both sides of the body than their right-handed peers (as opposed to just one side), according to a 2011 study in Chest Journal. What does this mean? "What we know of people who are left-handed is they tend to have a slightly different dominant brain hemisphere than right-handed people," said study researcher Dawn Alita R. Hernandez in LiveScience. "So if [PLMD] is coming primarily from the cortex, we should see a difference in handedness." This study provides an interesting hint at the link between handedness, brain hemispheres, and disorders. Wild, right?
4. Left-Handed People Tend To Drink More Often
Of all the left-handed facts out there, this is one of the most curious. When you control for other variables, left-handed people tend to drink more often than right-handed people, according to a 2011 study in the British Journal of Health Psychology. To be clear, though, the study does not prove that left-handed people are more likely to be total lushes, just that they are less likely to drink rarely or not at all. Of course, there are still plenty of left-handed teetotalers in the world as well. These are just averages.
5. Left-Handed People Are More Likely To Have Mental Disorders
This is another weird correlation between handedness and health. People who have psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia are more likely to be left-handed than people in the general population, according to a 2013 study in SAGE Open. It's a huge difference, too. Left-handedness was found to occur in about 40 percent of patients with psychotic disorders, as further noted by the study. The exact reason for this connection is not yet fully understood.
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