Scientific Evidence That Left-Handed People Are Exceptional

Famous lefties: Barack Obama, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates and Neil Armstrong

Dear Lefties: It’s official! You are very special, according to science.

Throughout history, being left-handed has been viewed as a weakness or something to overcome. Heck, just 20 years ago, studies said that left-handed people die sooner and were prone to more accidents. Why? It’s not your fault, lefties—you’re living in a world built for right-handed people!

Doors are made for the right hand. Simple household items like scissors and can openers are made for the right hand. Even writing can be more of a challenge for lefties.

But new studies have revealed some interesting facts about left-handedness. And, it turns out, there are some serious perks to being a leftie—including a higher likelihood of excelling at sports and been better problem-solvers (take that, righties!). Read on for some fun facts about and great perks of being left-handed.

1. We Don’t Know Why Left-Handed People Exist

In spite of a good deal of research over the years, there still isn’t a definitive answer as to why some humans are left-handed. It could be partly hereditary from the mother’s side of the family tree. Another theory is that if there is more testosterone in the womb, there’s a greater chance the baby will be left-handed. In one study, twins were twice as likely to be left-handed as compared to the rest of the world.

2. We Don’t Know Exactly How Many Left-Handed People Are On Earth 

Various studies estimate that between 5 and 26 percent of the population is left-handed. But those numbers vary depending on culture and region being studied.

3. Lefties Are More Likely To Be Good At Sports 

About 25 percent of all MLB players are left-handed (or “southpaws”). And, baseball’s not the only sport that’s advantageous for lefties. Interactive sports like tennis give lefties the upper hand. In fact, one report showed a whopping 40 percent of top tennis players are left-handed. Since left-handed athletes’ movements are different, opponents aren’t used to reacting to them. Athletes are built on routines, and when you disrupt their routine, it throws off their game.

4. Left-Handedness Has Never Become Extinct

Back in the day, left-handed students were forced to write with their right hands in an attempt to correct what was seen as a problem. Even with these questionable practices going on, the trait of left-handedness has not died. Instead of survival of the fittest, left-handedness is sort of a “survival of the unexpected.” For instance, in primitive cultures, 27 percent of people living in war-like regions were left-handed, compared to 3 percent in peaceful regions. Perhaps that’s because the right-handed fighters never saw the left hook coming.

Always Writing
Flickr | Denise Krebs

5. Left-Handers Are Better Problem Solvers

Scientists believe lefties are better at divergent thinking, or coming up with multiple solutions to a problem. As a result, they are more likely than right-handed counterparts to pursue careers in science, art and technology. Famous lefties who made names for themselves in those fields include Marie Curie, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Pablo Picasso, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Bill Gates, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman and Jean-Paul Gaultier—an impressive lineup!