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Getty Images / Jamie McCarthy / Staff

Your dominant hand may reveal more about you than you think.

It turns out that left-handed people are more likely to be atheists, according to a new study which explores connections between atheism and certain genetic traits.

The researchers found a "weak but significant" association between left-handedness and atheism, and a stronger one between autism and being non-religious, in 612 volunteers.

The paper argues religiosity was more sought-after in the past as it was associated with stability, good mental health and better social behaviour - three things you would seek out in a possible partner. Therefore, religious people were more likely to make it to adulthood and have children, thus passing on the gene.

It is with this in mind that the researchers observe that religious people have fewer genetic mutations and are less likely to be left-handed, have autism or have schizophrenia.

In the paper, the authors wrote:

Religious people in Western societies—religious in the sense that complex societies were before the Industrial Revolution—are a remnant, selected population that likely would have survived in preindustrial conditions.

The researchers think atheism has spread in modern times partly because people who would have been less likely to have children are now reproducing.

On the other side of the coin, left-handed people are apparently more likely to believe in the paranormal.

By contrast, atheists and believers in the paranormal would, disproportionately, never have reached adulthood or never have been born, because these beliefs, though very different, are partly an expression of the breakdown of selection and thus of rising mutational load

Left-handed people are associated with a whole host of other characteristics including intelligence and needing more alone time.

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