Left-handed people are uniquely wired

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

left hand pitcher
Batters may be a little “thrown off” by a left-handed pitcher.

If you pop your head into any random classroom and take a look at the students scribbling notes, statistics say that 10% of them will be writing with their left hands. Although lefties are a minority in today’s society and may find their hands smearing ink across the page, they do have certain curious advantages.

Did you know that even animals can be lefties (or “south-pawed” as they say)? One expert observer found that about 40% of kitties love to play with balls of yarn with their left paws. Another 50% use their right and the remaining 10% switch from side to side as they please. Meanwhile, dogs tend to be split somewhere down the middle with half of them preferring their right paws and the other half opting for their left. The divide isn’t so balanced for humans, which is why this next fact is particularly surprising…

What’s the fact you ask? Well, it turns out that five out of the last seven Presidents of the United States have been lefties… and it’s no happy accident either! You see, we tend to raise up our dominant hands when we’re talking to others about a good idea. When presidential candidates are on TV, however, voters watching at home actually see the candidate’s mirror images because of the video camera technology. That means that when a right-handed candidate raises his hand to make a good point, it will appear like he’s raising his left hand! When a left-handed candidate shakes his left hand, the viewers perceive it as his right hand. This means that subconsciously, the voters will interpret the left-handed movements as good and right-handed movements as bad. Whoa!

Lefties also have an advantage in competitive sports. While lefties encounter right-handed people on a regular basis, it’s unusual for righties to face lefties. This introduces the element of surprise into the game. In boxing, for example, right-handed fighters may not be prepared to block punches from left field, and leave themselve undefended against a knock out. Then, in baseball, left-handed pitchers can throw tricky balls at batters, leaving them vulnerable to getting a strike.

As far as brain power, left-handed people tend to use both halves of their brain more often than right-handed people. While some studies have shown that this makes lefties more creative thinkers, using both halves of the brain so often can also make a person more likely to be hyperactive, have trouble focusing, and develop reality-bending mental disorders.

Who would have thought that something as simple as the hand you write with could make you a better athlete and more likely to become president of the most powerful nation in the world? I guess that makes up for the difficulty in handling scissors and a computer mouse!

Image of pitcher courtesy of Keith Allison on Wikipedia.