Left-handed people used to be accused of witchcraft in the 1600s, and now they get a special day to celebrate their difference in a world that is seemingly designed for their right-handed counterparts. From ink-smudged, hand-written notes to difficult can openers, the struggle for lefties is real. Thankfully, the advancements in the digital world have not favored one side or the other, yet August 13th remains International Left-Handers Day to celebrate our fellow left-handed brothers and sisters.
The History of Left-Handers Day
International Left-Handers Day was first recognized in 1976, and it was initially intended to raise awareness about the difficulties of being left-handed. Considering that only 10% of the population is left-handed, items that are left-handed tend to be more expensive than the same items for right-handed people. For instance, left-handed scissors, knives, and desks can cost up to 75% more, while golf clubs see a 200% increase in price, depending on the brand of course.
Left-Handed Myth: Lefties Are More Creative
Creative people often have a lot in common, but being left-handed isn’t one of them. This long-standing myth is exactly that, a myth. Several studies have measured the creative achievements in various people’s lives, but there was no correlation between left-handedness and accomplishing the feats that they did.
Left-Handed Fact: Lefties May Have More Sleep Problems
In a small study in the Chest journal, researchers monitored the rhythmic limb movements of both right-handers and left-handers during sleep. The findings indicated that 94% of left-handed sleepers had limb movements, which can be a sign of periodic limb movement disorder, compared to 69% of right-handed sleepers who had limb movement.
Left Handed Myth: Lefties Are Introverts
For some reason, people seem to think that left-handed people are more introverted than right-handed people. A 2013 study in New Zealand found that there was no difference across five personality measures between left and right-handers. The stereotype is that lefties are mentally inferior, but this does not reflect reality.
Left-Handed Fact: More Lefties Experience Serious Mental Health Disorders
People with psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, are more likely to be left-handed. A study at Yale University also found that people with mood disorders like bi-polar disorder are typically right-handed. In this small study, researchers studied a group of individuals from an outpatient psychiatric clinic. The research focused on the link between hallucinations or delusions and handedness, finding that the development of such disorders may be linked to which part of the brain that lefties favor. Findings like this can help people identify and differentiate mental disorders at an early age, intervening to provide the best and most effective treatment options available.