Tuesday, July 31, 2007

On Being a Leftie

I'm a genuine Leftie. I'm a sinistral - a left-hander. Now, according to stuff I've found on the BBC website, it turns out there are a lot of plusses (and a few minuses) to being left-handed.

BBC reports that an Oxford team has found a gene that increases the likelihood of being left-handed. It turns out the same gene also increases the likelihood of developing psychotic illness such as schizophrenia.

But - on the plus side. It turns out the 10% of us who aren't right have a lot of real advantages. For example, we think more quickly. That's right, unlike you dullards, scientists have found that signals move decidedly faster between the hemispheres of our brains.

Connections between the left and right hand sides or hemispheres of the brain are faster in left-handed people, a study in Neuropsychology shows.

The fast transfer of information in the brain makes left-handers more efficient when dealing with multiple stimuli.

Experts said left-handers tended to use both sides of the brain more easily.

Chartered psychologist, Dr Steve Williams said left-handed people tended to be better at using both sides of the brain.

"This seems to go with evidence that left-handers use both sides of the brain for language - that they are more bicerebral. They get faster at it because they're having to use both sides of the brain more."

"In football, being able to shoot with either foot is a huge asset (each foot like each hand is under opposite-side control) and I've heard that left-handers tend to have better backhands in tennis," he added.

But wait, there's more. We're better in fights:

The endurance of left-handedness has puzzled researchers, because it is linked to disadvantages including an increased risk of some diseases.

But University of Montpellier experts, writing in Proceedings B, say it could be because they do well in combat.

A study of eight aboriginal societies found homicide rates increased significantly with the incidence of left-handedness. Oops!

Not only that, but being left-handed makes me - sort of - Churchillian! Yes, Winston was one of us. Then again, so was Hitler. Yeah, but so is Clapton!


Mike said...

But what if you are ambidextrous? Although predominantly right-handed, I play hockey and base ball left handed (though I can do it right if I need to).

I wonder what gene that is...

The Mound of Sound said...

Forget it Mike, ya left-handed wannabe!

Anonymous said...

I'm prominently "left-handed" but also quite strong on my right.

Don't know if it is because when I was a kid it was a right-handed world that you gain some strength.

I eat, write with my left hand. I cut with my right hand, can bat a ball with both hands.

I'm a mess.

The Mound of Sound said...

I know exactly what you mean. I think ambidexterity, while not exclusively leftist (as per Mike above), is more common than among the right-handed. I do all the strength things right-handed and all the fine motor skills stuff left-handed. When I was a kid I wrote with both hands until my teacher made me choose and left was my natural choice. The joys of the bicerebral, eh?