How Do People Become Left-Handed?

How Do People Become Left-Handed?

A long time ago, people not only misunderstood being left-handed, but feared it. People – righties, we imagine – associated left-handed dominance as vulnerable to “dealings with the devil”, and that it was a habit that should be ‘corrected’.

That prejudice is laughable today, but the curiosity of left-handers remains – why do some kids grow up left-handed rather than right-handed?

According to statistics, roughly 90% of people are right-handed, with the rest turning to the Left Side. That 10% demographic of lefties includes some notable switch hitters, including POTUS Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey.

A small percentage of researchers point to genetics as the cause for handedness, though most scientists feel that’s just a small part of it. For example, a 2013 study from PLOS Genetics cites gene and gene mutations that influence the development of “left-right asymmetry in the body and brain.” These genes are quite possibly related to handedness.

Other researchers believe genetics is minimal, maybe a quarter of the cause at best. One of the most simplistic beliefs is that handedness is, well, pretty random. Another Darwin-ish, survival-of-the-fittest hypothesis claims being left handed has survived as a trait as an advantage when it comes to fisticuffs.

While there’s a ton of theories and speculations, what is for certain is being left-handed or right-handed has no bearing on personality traits like extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotionality and openness to experience.

Is there an advantage to being a leftie vs. a righty? Depends on who you ask. Athletes will say being left-handed is a huge advantage, especially in sports like baseball. Those that like to eat at the dinner table with taking a few elbows to the side will more likely prefer to be on the 90%, right-handed team.

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