Today is International Left Hander Day, which means it’s a perfect time to celebrate lefties! Whether you’re left-handed or you just know someone who is, we know you’ll love sharing these fun facts as much as we loved researching them:
It’s no secret that right-handed people are in the majority. Studies conducted throughout North America and Europe have concluded that 87% of the world is right handed. These numbers might not be completely accurate, as some areas of the world maintain a social stigma against left-handedness that often leads to the “training out” of the tendency.
There are two types of people who are even more rare than lefties, however: the ambidextrous and the ambivelous. Ambidextrous people can use either hand with equal dexterity, while ambivelous types find the use of either hand awkward. Together, these types make up less than 1% of the population.
While it might seem odd that modern society can still shun a person for their dominant hand, it does happen. Being left handed is still discouraged in countries such as Taiwan, Japan, and Korea, but this discrimination has also made the news in the United States as recently as 2015. In this highly-publicized case, a pre-K teacher in Oklahoma forced a four-year-old, left-handed student to write with his right hand – and even went so far as sending a letter home to the child’s parents that spoke of the “evil” associations of left-handedness.
This fact may be more related to society than to genetics. It’s entirely possible that the number of lefties has remained generally stable through the years, but society is simply allowing more of them to stay left-handed. It’s estimated that among older generations, around 7% of right-handed people are actually lefties who were forced to write with their right hands. Now, this doesn’t occur as often in developed nations, and the last 50 years have shown a 10% rise in left-handed people.
According to a study published by the American Psychological Association in 2008, a leftie is 28% more likely to be male rather than female.
When both parents are left-handed, the chance of their child being the same is 24% This possibility drops down to 9% when both parents are right-handed. This suggests that genetics may play a role in determining our innate hand dominance.
What about the odds when one parent is left-handed? If the father is a leftie, then there’s a 17% chance of the child carrying on the trait. This number rises to 22% when the mother is the leftie.
How did this phenomenon come about? Don’t call Mulder and Scully…this is all about the name, not the hand dominance. In a small town named Left Hand, West Virginia, everyone is a Left Hander!
Research published in the American Journal of Psychology touts evidence that left-handed people may have greater creative minds. This is due to their increased capacity for “divergent thinking,” or the ability to explore many possible solutions through creative ideas. It’s no wonder that a survey conducted by the Left-Handers Club determined that lefties were commonly drawn to (and successful in) careers in the arts, music, and IT fields.