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Do you know a lefty? 10% of the population is left-handed, and special!

February 1, 2018

 

 

Most of the population we know are right-handed, but did you know around 10% of us are left- handed. Up until recently, we weren’t exactly sure why there is such an overwhelming minority of lefties.Is it an act of God to award certain people? Or is it genetic? Lefties have excelled at both ends of the scale – the very good and the very bad. They seem to make exceptional leaders, inventors, artists, musicians and murderers! Left-handed people have achieved greatness in many walks of life, but particularly in creative, sporting and artistic fields, where their natural talent for lateral thinking and ingenuity have made a huge contribution to all our lives. If you are left-handed then you are in very good company!

 

At various times in our history, left-handed people were thought to be more creative or having special musical skills. But they were also seen as more rebellious or more disorganized and clumsy. We’re not sure how much of that is true, but we know that even the word “left” often had more negative connotations. Like, who wouldn’t want to be right? But if you’ve ever wondered why some of us are left-handed, here’s your answer.

 

Research also tells us that men are more likely to be left-handed than women and that left-handedness is twice as common in twins. That’s great, but why are those few of us using their left hand, foot, eye, and brain?

Initially, scientists thought it had everything to do with our brains, but new studies into the issue indicate that it has nothing to do with that. So where does this come from?

 

It appears that this is something present from even before we are born. Teams of researchers in Germany, South Africa and the Netherlands have found that left-handedness is due to a gene in our spine, not our brains. That’s fascinating, isn’t it? The study also showed that this takes place in the womb, between weeks 8 and 12 of pregnancy. So your ability to write with your left hand goes that far back!

 

So the results tell us that the spine is responsible for the asymmetry which defines if a person becomes right or left-handed. The study also concludes that left or right-handedness is not inherited, as we all assumed, but happens because of other factors in the environment.

 

Here is a test:

  • Imagine the center of your back is itching. Which hand do you scratch it with?

  • Interlock your fingers. Which thumb is uppermost?

  • Imagine you are applauding. Start clapping your hands. Which hand is uppermost?

  • Wink at an imaginary friend straight in front of you. Which eye does the winking?

  • Put your hands behind your back, one holding the other. Which hand is doing the holding?

  • Someone in front of you is shouting but you cannot hear the words. Cup your ear to hear better. Which ear do you cup?

  • Count to three on your fingers, using the forefinger of the other hand. Which forefinger do you use?

  • Tilt your head over on to one shoulder. Which shoulder does it touch?

  • Fixate a small distant object with your eyes and point directly at it with your forefinger. Now close one eye. Now change eyes. Which eye was open when the fingertip remained in line with the small object? (When the other eye, the non-dominant one, is open and the dominant eye is closed, the finger will appear to move to one side of the object.)

  • Fold your arms. Which forearm is uppermost?

If you have always considered yourself to be right or left-handed you will probably now have discovered that your body is less than total in its devotion to its favored side. If you are right-handed the chances are that you were not able to be ‘right’ 10 times

 

Notable lefties:
 

Aldrin, Buzz (astronaut) USA Other 1930- Writes right-handed

Alexander the Great Macedonia Leader/Military ...356BC-323BC Debatable/unlikely

Allman, Duane USA Musician 1946-1971 Plays guitar right-handed

Allman, Gregg USA Musician 1947- Plays guitar right-handed

Aristotle Greece Other ....384BC-322BC Debatable/unlikely

Aykroyd, Dan Canada Film, TV & Stage 1952-

Barrymore, Drew USA Film, TV & Stage 1975-

Basinger, Kim USA Film, TV & Stage 1953-

Berra, Yogi (baseball) USA Sport 1925-2015 Batted left, threw right

Bin Laden, Osama Saudi Arabia Leader/Military 1957-2011 Wrote with right hand

Bird, Larry (basketball) USA Sport 1956-

Blackmore, Ritchie UK Musician 1945- Plays guitar right-handed

Boggs, Wade (baseball) USA Sport 1958- Bats left, throws right

Bonaparte, Napoleon France Leader/Military 1769-1821 Debatable/unlikely

Bonds, Barry (baseball) USA Sport 1964- Writes right-handed

Border, Alan (cricket) Australia Sport 1955- Bats and bowls left-handed

Bowie, David UK Musician 1947-2016

Broderick, Matthew USA Film, TV & Stage 1962-

Bruce, Lenny USA Film, TV & Stage 1925-1966

Buonarroti, Michelangelo Italy Artist 1475-1564 Debatable/unlikely

Bush, George H.W. USA Politician 1924-

Caesar, Julius Rome Leader/Military ..|100BC-44BC Debatable/unlikely

Chaplin, Charlie UK Film, TV & Stage 1889-1997 Wrote right-handed

Chávez, Hugo Venezuela Politician 1954-2013

Clinton, Bill USA Politician 1946-

Cobain, Kurt USA Musician 1967-1994 Played guitar left-handed, but otherwise right-handed

Cobb, Ty (baseball) USA Sport 1886-1961 Batted left, threw right

Collins, Phil UK Musician 1951-

Connors, Jimmy (tennis) USA Sport 1952-

Costello, Elvis UK Musician 1954- Plays guitar right-handed

Cruise, Tom USA Film, TV & Stage 1962- Writes and throws with right hand

da Vinci, Leonardo Italy Artist 1452-1519 Possibly due to injury

De La Hoya, Oscar (boxing) USA Sport 1973- Boxes “orthodox”, but left-handed

DeSalvo, Albert (Boston Strangler) USA Other 1931-1973

Dillon, Matt USA Film, TV & Stage 1964-

Dole, Bob USA Politician 1923- Switched to left due to injury

Elizabeth, The Queen Mother UK Royalty 1900-2002

Eminem USA Musician 1972-

Fey, Tina USA Film, TV & Stage 1970-

Fields, W.C. USA Film, TV & Stage 1880-1946

Fishburne, Laurence USA Film, TV & Stage 1961-

Fonda, Peter USA Film, TV & Stage 1940-

Ford, Henry USA Businessman 1863-1947 Debatable/unlikely

Ford, Gerald USA Politician 1913-2006

Freeman, Morgan USA Film, TV & Stage 1937-

Gandhi, Mohandas (“Mahatma”) India Politician 1869-1948 Wrote with both hands

Garfield, James A. USA Politician 1831-1881 Wrote with both hands

Garland, Judy USA Film, TV & Stage 1922-1969

Gates, Bill USA Businessman 1955- Writes with left, but otherwise right-handed

Gehrig, Lou (baseball) USA Sport 1903-1941 Wrote right-handed

Grant, Cary USA Film, TV & Stage 1904-1986

Griffey Jr., Ken (baseball) USA Sport 1969- Writes right-handed

Hawn, Goldie USA Film, TV & Stage 1945-

Hendrix, Jimi USA Musician 1942-1970 Wrote and ate with right hand

Henson, Jim USA Film, TV & Stage 1936-1990 Wrote with right hand

Hoover, Herbert USA Politician 1874-1964 Wrote with right hand

Hudson, Rock USA Film, TV & Stage 1925-1985

Jackman, Hugh Australia Film, TV & Stage 1968-

Jack the Ripper UK Other 1880s-

Joan of Arc France Leader/Military 1412-1431 Debatable/unlikely

Jobs, Steve USA Businessman 1955-2011 Debatable/claimed ambidexterity

Johansson, Scarlett USA Film, TV & Stage 1984-

Johnson, Randy (baseball) USA Sport 1963- Batted right, threw left

Jolie, Angelina USA Film, TV & Stage 1975-

Keller, Helen USA Other 1880-1968

Kidman, Nicole Australia Film, TV & Stage 1967-

King, Albert USA Musician 1923-1992 Played guitar right-handed

King, B.B. USA Musician 1925-2015 Plays guitar right-handed

Lee, Spike USA Film, TV & Stage 1957-

Lee, Stan USA Artist 1922-

Lennox, Annie UK Musician 1954-

Leno, Jay USA Film, TV & Stage 1950-

Lovell, Jim (astronaut) USA Other 1928-

Marx, Harpo USA Film, TV & Stage 1888-1964 Wrote right-handed

McCain, John USA Politician 1936-

McCartney, Paul UK Musician 1942-

McEnroe, John (tennis) USA Sport 1959-

McQueen, Steve USA Film, TV & Stage 1930-1980 Debatable/unlikely

Messi, Lionel Argentina Sport 1987- Left-footed but right-handed

Michael, George UK Musician 1963-

Mickelson, Phil (golf) USA Sport 1970- Right-handed apart from golf

Moore, Demi USA Film, TV & Stage 1962-

Moore, Julianne USA Film, TV & Stage 1960-

Morse, Steve USA Musician 1954- Plays guitar right-handed

Nadal, Rafael (tennis) Spain Sport 1986- Right-handed apart from tennis

Navratilova, Martina (tennis) Czech/USA Sport 1956- Writes with her right hand

Netanyahu, Benjamin Israel Politician 1949-

Netek, Michael USA Genius 1961-

Obama, Barack USA Politician 1961-

Olsen, Mary-Kate & Ashley USA Film, TV & Stage 1986-

O'Neal, Ryan USA Film, TV & Stage 1941-

Paquiao, Manny (boxing) Philippines Sport 1978- Boxes left, but right-handed

Palmer, Arnold (golf) USA Sport 1929- Plays golf right-handed

Parker, Sarah Jessica USA Film, TV & Stage 1965-

Pavlov, Ivan Russia Scientist 1849-1936 Taught himself to be ambidextrous

Perot, Ross USA Businessman 1930-

Pitt, Brad USA Film, TV & Stage 1963- Writes with right-hand

Pop, Iggy USA Musician 1947-

Porter, Cole USA Musician 1891-1964

Pryor, Richard USA Film, TV & Stage 1940-2005

Ramses II Egypt Leader/Military ....1303BC-1213BC Debatable/unlikely

Reagan, Ronald USA Politician 1911-2004 Switched to right (ambidextrous?)

Redford, Robert USA Film, TV & Stage 1936- Writes with his right hand

Reeves, Keanu Canada Film, TV & Stage 1964- Plays guitar right-handed

Roberts, Julia USA Film, TV & Stage 1967-

Rockefeller, John D. USA Businessman 1839-1937 Forced to write with his right hand

Rockefeller, Nelson USA Politician 1908-1979 Forced to write with his right hand

Ruth, “Babe” (baseball) USA Sport 1895-1948 Wrote with his right hand

Seinfeld, Jerry USA Film, TV & Stage 1954-

Seles, Monika (tennis) Serbia Sport 1973-

Spitz, Mark (swimming) USA Sport 1950-

Starr, Ringo UK Musician 1940- Drums and writes right-handed

Truman, Harry S. USA Politician 1884-1972 Wrote with right hand

Twain, Mark USA Writer 1835-1910 Wrote with left due to rheumatism

Williams, Ted (baseball) USA Sport 1918-2002 Batted left, threw right

Willis, Bruce USA Film, TV & Stage 1955-

Young, Steve (football) USA Sport 1961-

 

 

 

 

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