Being left-handed

Brain organisation

No-one has come up with a definitive reason for WHY some people are left-handed, but about 13% of the population around the world are, and it is thought to be genetic – it definitely runs in families. Researchers have recently located a gene they believe “makes it possible to have a left-handed child ” so if you have that gene, one or more of your children may be left-handed, whereas without it, you will only have right-handers – sorry! The good news is, that if you are left-handed yourself, you have that gene and will pass it on through the generations!

The way the brain works is incredibly complex, but this simplified explanation will give you some understanding of where our left-hand dominance comes from. The brain is “cross-wired” so that the left hemisphere controls the right handed side of the body and vice-versa and hand dominance is connected with brain dominance on the opposite side – which is why we say that only left-handers are in their right minds!

Brain organisation left hemisphere and right hemisphere

The left hemisphere (RIGHT HAND CONTROL) controls Speech, Language, Writing, Logic, Mathematics, Science, this is the LINEAR THINKING MODE.

The right hemisphere (LEFT HAND CONTROL) controls Music, Art, Creativity, Perception, Emotions, Genius, this is the HOLISTIC THINKING MODE

Effects of right brain dominance

This brain dominance makes left-handers more likely than right handers to be creative and visual thinkers. This is supported by higher percentages of left-handers than normal in certain jobs and professions – music and the arts, media in general. (See the results of our Lifestyle Survey of Left-Handers for our detailed findings) Left-handers are also generally better at 3-dimensional perception and thinking, leading, for example, to more left-handed architects than normal. Left-handers are also usually pretty good at most ball sports and things involving hand-to-eye co-ordination.

Image descriptionThe view that left-handers are clumsy and awkward is not down to their natural abilities, but being forced to use right-handed tools and machinery which is completely back-to-front for them.

If you are interested in the latest research and findings on left-handedness, you can buy the excellent book Right-Hand, Left Hand by Chris McManus in the online shop.

Other pages in our Left Handed Facts Section:

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26 comments on “Being left-handed
  1. Dennis Kilene says:

    I like to remind right-handed people of the two things I have noticed that are left-handed friendly: 1. toll booths 2. drive up ATMs.

  2. Jan R. Hershbeerger says:

    I’m one of 5 boys. All are right handers except for me. Therefore it’s specifically genetics! A good way to prove this would be to watch a fetus as it’s being developed. As handiness should also be displayed directly within the womb itself!

  3. Tim Simpson says:

    I’m left handed, The teachers used to try to make me right handed but to no avail (back in the day when they would hit you with a ruler to make you comply) I am quite artistic, Play guitar & base & can visualise things in my mind in 3D. I love being left handed.

    • rosie says:

      I remember reaching over my paper to the ink bottle on the other side of my right handed desk!

      Like you, I am artistic, intuitive, and mystical but also have right brain skills. We Lefties are forced to adapt to scissors etc because that’s what is available in most homes. My mom had the ironing board set up in the basement with the iron on the right side, of course… Do you know the Latin word for left is “senestra,” our word sinister.

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