Advantages of being left-handed
We often end up complaining about the frustrations of being left-handed, but there are plenty of advantages as well.
Here is a list that has been reported in various places recently – we have done features on most of these items before but it is nice to put them all in one place. It would be great to make this list longer as well! If you can think of any other advantages of being left-handed and, ideally, can provide some sort of research results or reporting to back it up, please add a comment below and we will expand the list.
10 Proven Benefits of Being Left-Handed
With only about 10% of the population being left handed, lefties are a serious minority. While they’ve endured a serious amount of prejudice (the word for left in almost every language has a less than positive connotation) and even aggression over the years, today, many left handed people are proud of their unusual handedness. And why not? After all, they have to survive and thrive in a world designed for those who are right handed. The next time someone teases you about your left handedness, bring up one of these facts that show that being left handed just might be a genetic blessing after all, offering you bigger and better abilities that can help you do everything from get a degree to kick butt at video games.
- Being left handed is an advantage in many sports. You might just come out ahead in athletics if you’re a lefty. Since most players are right handed, many are unused to dealing with those who are left handed. Take baseball for instance. Southpaws have the advantage of already facing first base when they’re at bat, can more easily keep an eye on first base when pitching and can cover a large amount of the field when playing in the outfield by having their glove in their right hand. There are specially designed left-handed baseball gloves available (worn on the right hand so you can throw left-handed). Other sports that offer an advantage to lefties are fencing, boxing and tennis.
- Lefties have a greater chance of being a genius– or having a high IQ. Researchers aren’t sure why, but those who are left handed seem to make up a disproportionately large part of those who are highly intelligent. For example, twenty percent of all Mensa members are left-handed. When you consider that less than 10 percent of the total population is left handed, this makes for a lot of smart lefties. Some think this genius stems from being forced to use both sides of the brain more often, allowing these individuals to more easily process a large amount of information.
- Left handed men may make more money. All that genius has to lead to something, right? According to studies, left handed males who have gone to college earn 13 percent more than their right handed counterparts. The causes of this difference are unknown, but the gap is statistically significant enough that its not a simple anomaly. Oddly enough, however, the results are quite different for women, with lefties earning 5% less than women who are right handed.
- Left handed people adjust more easily to seeing underwater. Bizarre as it may sound, one of the benefits of being left handed is being able to adjust more easily to see the world around you when you’re underwater. While you may not need this ability very often, it could come in handy if you live by the sea or enjoy swimming. While it’s not quite clear why this is so, scientists think it has something to do with a different part of the brain being dominant in left handed individuals.
- Lefties are better able to multitask. One of the advantages of being left-handed is that it forces your brain to think more quickly. What this means for everyday life is that those who are lefties may find it easier to multi-task and deal with a large, sometimes unorganized stream of information. Researchers found that conversations between the left and right sides of the brain happen more quickly in left handed people. The more dominant the left handedness is, the better these abilities are.
- Some left-handed individuals have better memories. While it isn’t true for all who are left handed, data from recent studies suggests that those who come from families of lefties tend to have better memories, though only of the episodic kind. The odd thing about this study, however, was that individuals didn’t necessarily need to be left-handed themselves to have a better memory– just come from a family of lefties. These studies show that traits related to handedness may be passed down separately, though some lefties would prefer to think that their left-handed benefits just rubbed off on their right-handed counterparts.
- Generally, lefties are better at playing video games. Some of the traits that make lefties better thinkers and multitaskers also make them better at playing video games. Research conducted by Dr. Nick Cherbuin shows that lefties are better at handing large amounts of stimuli, making them naturally better at killing zombies, playing virtual tennis or fighting off alien hordes in the virtual world.
- Left handed stroke victims recover faster than right handed stroke victims. While the reasons behind this aren’t entirely clear, some believe it’s due to left handed people having to strengthen both sides of the brain when navigating a right handed world. Because many lefties are better able to use their non-dominant hand, it is easier for them to recover from a stroke that damages one part of their brain. Of course, recovery for those suffering from a stroke is never easy, no matter which is their dominant hand.
- Left-handed people are likely to be more visual than language-based, making them ideal for artistic pursuits. Research has shown that university students are more likely to major in visually-based, as opposed to language-based, subjects when they’re left handed. While another study — not comprehensive at only 103 students — showed that within the sample, 47% of art students were left- or mixed-handed. If you want to be an artist this is an amazing benefit, putting you in the likes of greats like Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Rembrandt.
- Southpaw drivers are more successful at learning to drive than right handed people. If driving came easy to you, it might have a good deal to do with your left-handedness. A driving school poll found that 57% of left handers passed their driving test first time compared with only 47% of right handers. This is pretty amazing, considering that most cars are designed with right handed individuals in mind
Is this true in all countries, regardless of whether they drive on the left or on the right?
Here are some others to think about…
- Be a faster typist- on a standard qwerty keyboard there are about 3400 words that can be typed solely with the left hand, compared to about 450 words typed solely with the right hand.
- Less time in line. Studies show that most people veer to the right if there are multiple lines to choose from, but lefties tend to choose the line on their dominant side. A Disney World guidebook states that visitors will spend much less time in line for attractions if they choose the left-hand side when given an option.
- Get to choose your seat at the dinner table. Everyone knows you can’t sit next to a lefty, otherwise you’ll get your elbow bumped. Smart southpaws use this to their advantage to get a spot with more space. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work as well at a circular table.
- Have an easier time writing in Hebrew. Many Arabic languages, including Hebrew are written from right to left. This alleviates the problem that lefties have when writing.
Let us know what you think about these and add any more advantages you can think of by adding a comment below.