It's official, left-handed people are smarter

Alexandra Richards
Monday 19 June 2017 15:00
(Getty Images)

There are a lot of rumours flying around about left-handed people.

Some studies suggest that left handed people die younger, others link left-handers to delinquent behaviour, it has even been suggested that left-handed people drink more.

While these claims are heavily contested and barely evidenced, there is one myth that holds some weight and that is the idea that left-handed people are smarter than right-handers - in fact it has even been suggested that left-handed people are more likely to be a genius.

IFL Science reviewed studies on handedness and mathematical ability to test this theory.

They explain that hand function is:

a manifestation of brain function and is therefore related to cognition.

Apparently, left-handers have a bigger right side of the brain which helps them when it comes to spatial awareness and mental representations of objects.

As if that wasn’t enough, they have bigger corpus callosums (that’s the bundle of nerve cells that connects the two brain hemispheres in case you were wondering).

This means they have an increased connectivity between both sides of the brain so they tend to process information more quickly than right handed people.

While the link between lef-handedness and maths has been explored before, previously experiments have been done to varying degrees of success and each test had different approaches to measuring mathematical ability.

To get more reliable results IFL science reviewed a series of experiments including 2,300 students varying in age.

The experiments were of various levels of mathematical difficulty. They used the same questionnaire on everyone they tested to assure comparability.

The questionnaire asked a number of questions about which hand individuals used for different activities.

Now the results are in and it sucks to be right-handed.

The tests concluded that left-handers outperformed the rest of the sample when it came to difficult problem solving. When the task required simple maths left and right-handers were on an even footing as there was no difference in performance. The results showed that ‘extreme right-handers’ –people who used their right handy for every activity, under performed in all the experiments.

So, in conclusion, left-handed people have the edge when it comes to maths and strongly right-handed people have a disadvantage.

However, IFL Science notes that it is important not to judge people purely on their hand preference as only one third of people with an overly developed right side of the brain are left-handed, there are lots of right-handed people with a similar brain function.

So there is still hope for right-handed people, don’t give up just yet.

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