What is the correct way of thinking about left-handed people?


They can be items found at any gift and convenience store – scissors, pens, notebooks – but these and scores of other products in this store are specifically designed especially for left-handed people.

Take the pastry server, with the sharp blade on the left side. “The exact side, we mean!” Margaret Majua said.

You may recall the Leftorium in “The Simpsons,” which sells products specifically for left-handed people. But Lefty’s, which Majua opened in San Francisco in 2008, is the real deal.

Reporter Rita Braver (a woman herself) asked, “Aren’t you a leftist?”

“No, no, I can’t even fake it,” Majua replied. “I’m bad with my left hand.”

No surprise. Left-handed people make up only about 10% of the world’s population, and Majua understands that sometimes they feel left out.

Of course, Braver noted, “We go left having greatness in our ranks.” Among them: artists (Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci), actors (Charlie Chaplin, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt), musicians (Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain), technicians (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg), and eight of the 45 presidents of the United States, including former President Bill Clinton.

“We seem to be over-represented in certain areas,” Clinton said. “Politics? Secure Jailbreak? I don’t know!”

“Did it ever get in your way?” Braver asked.

“No, I don’t think that’s ever stopped me,” Clinton said. “When I started researching how the brain works, it made me wonder if it really is a sign of you being a little more creative and irrational than you think you are. And I have no conclusion about it”.

“Even about yourself?”

“No I dont!”

When asked about the “myth” that leftists are more creative, author and journalist David Wolman said, “Oh, let’s kill it together, here and now, let’s kill it!”

But there is some research that shows that left-handed people organize their thoughts and work differently. “Absolutely true, and that’s really mysterious,” Wolman said.

Wolman was so intrigued by the mysteries and myths surrounding left-handed people like himself that he spent a year traveling the world to write the book “The Left Hand Turns Around the World” about the normal hand. associated with the devil. The word “left” comes from the Old English “lyft”, which means feeble or worthless.

He added, “The Latin word for left is sinister.”

“That really makes sense, doesn’t it?” Braver said.

“Just take it out on the table!” he laughs.

“‘Gauche, in French, also means crude and undesirable kind?”

“You definitely shouldn’t eat with your left hand in countries where you don’t have utensils,” Wolman said.

Why? “You know, it’s not the cleanest table talk, but the answer to that is that in the poorer parts of the world, people are trying to separate which hands they eat from and which hands they eat. clean up yourself.”

“You mean, after using the bathroom?”


And older Americans may still remember when writing with the left hand was a no-no: “There are teachers trying to get rid of this behavior of their own,” says Wolman, “and in other parts of the world, the penalties are severe for following what is just a natural tendency. “

Left-handers know all that is needed: a compliment for a left-hander and, more recently, a “swipe left,” meaning rejection. Then there’s always “two left feet.”

However, many lefties are excellent athletes, from midfielders (Steve Young, Boomer Esiason) to tennis players (Martina Navratilova, Rafael Nadal).

Sean Doolittle is not “out on the left yard”; he is one of a long line of famous male table tennis pitchers (including Whitey Ford, Warren Spahn and Sandy Koufax). In 2019, Doolittle got closer, helping the Washington National Team win Game One of the World Series. “In baseball, I think [left-handedness] definitely a good thing,” he said. “I was trailing in the eighth round when they had a forehand backhand. And so I made it to the final in the eighth inning, and I finished the ninth, and we won. ”

“One of the advantages seems to be that left-handed pitchers are very good, not only at bringing in left-handed hitters but also right-handed hitters, because strong players are often,” asks Braver. not used to dealing with people like you too much?”

“Yeah, it’s just another look, because in baseball there are a lot, fewer left-handed pitchers, so the ball comes in at a different angle,” he said.

But like most humans, left or right handed, Doolittle is also ambidextrous: “I play golf right-handed, I kick with my right foot, I’m pretty good at scissors!” he say. “I just realized this: I hit left-handed, but I swing the golf club right. That’s pretty weird.”

Very strange being left-handed. Scientists know that it is at least partly genetic. But they were never able to figure out exactly how it was transmitted. Now, a recent study by scientists at the University of Oxford, using genetic data from around 400,000 UK residents, has revealed important new information:

“We compared the differences in DNA sequence between a very large group of left-handed people and a large group of right-handed people,” said Dr Akira Wiberg. “And what shows is that there are four regions in the genome where the two groups on average differ significantly.”

Professor Gwen Douaud said the study found some preliminary links between handedness and the development of certain diseases: “The incidence of schizophrenia is slightly higher in left-handed people. And it’s exactly the opposite in Parkinson’s disease. So if you’re left-handed, you’re less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. But again… we’re talking about very, very small effects. ”

However, Professor Dominic Furniss said the discovery could yield important information about the development of new treatments: “The important structures in the brain that do not function properly in these diseases are: what, [and] Why don’t they work properly at a very basic level? ”

The study also found some differences between left- and right-handed people in the brain’s white matter, the material through which messages get to the central nervous system. “That really connects the different parts of your brain that are activating language,” says Douaud.

Braver asked, “Does your findings increase the likelihood that left-handed people have an advantage when it comes to verbal tasks?”

“This is really a theory that we need to have a scientific test,” replied Furniss.

Adolescent psychologist Charlotte Reznick, a left-handed person, welcomes the idea of ​​more scientific research: “It’s helpful to educate right-handed people, because really, it’s sometimes a bit difficult to do so. left-handed in the right-handed world,” she said.

But the young forehands she introduced to us seemed to have overcome them all. “I don’t mind that,” said Bohdi.

Even the ink stains: “The only bad thing I noticed about being left-handed,” Izzy said, “is that you always have it on hand and it’s very annoying.”

However, one young woman said, “It’s something that you should be proud of, even though you’re different.”

Braver asked Reznick, “What would you say to parents who think, ‘Oh my, my kids will do better because the world is right-handed’?”

“Is not!” she laughed.

And what would left-handed expert David Wolman do, if someone could magically make him right-handed like everyone else? “I would say, ‘Have you lost your mind?’ ‘He laughed. “No. Never. No, no, no and no!”

Braver added, “Me too.”

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