Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Shattering Some Myths about Left-Handedness

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Shattering Some Myths about Left-Handedness

Article excerpt

Writing on the Psychology Today website, British psychologist and science writer Christian Jarrett knocks down several of the most pervasive myths about left-handedness.

He has some good news and, well, disappointing news for the 10 percent or so of people who prefer using their left hand for most tasks, such as writing and drawing, brushing their hair or throwing a ball.

Lefties will be disappointed to learn that they are neither more creative nor more intelligent -- as a group -- than their right- handed peers. For, despite the oft-cited long and varied list of creative left-handers (including Michelangelo, Matt Groening, Paul McCartney, Jim Henson, Eudora Welty, and James Baldwin), "there is very little to support the idea in the scientific literature," Chris McManus, a psychologist at the University College London and author or the book "Right Hand Left Hand," told Jarrett.

It is true, however, that lefties have an advantage in many sports, and for a very simple reason, says Jarrett: "They are more used to facing right-handed opponents (which the majority of their rivals will be) than right-handers are used to facing left- handers."

Early death? Not true

But there's an even bigger piece of good news for lefties: They do not die earlier or suffer more immune diseases than right-handed people. Writes Jarrett (with English spellings):

The early death myth originates with a 1988 Nature paper by Diane Halpern and Stanley Coren: "Do right-handers live longer? …

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