The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Is there any evidence that lefties are more intelligent and more creative?  (Read 1922 times)

Offline Musicforawhile

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
Is there evidence? Or is it to do with there being less left handed people?


 

Offline dlorde

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1441
  • Thanked: 9 times
  • ex human-biologist & software developer
    • View Profile
As I understand it, the evidence is equivocal. Psychology Today suggests that it's a myth - although there's anecdotal evidence, there's little science to support it (I'm a leftie myself).

I have no idea why you'd think it might be because there are fewer left-handers. How would that work?
 

Offline Musicforawhile

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
I am not sure that that train of thought of mine really made sense either.
 

Offline dlorde

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1441
  • Thanked: 9 times
  • ex human-biologist & software developer
    • View Profile
I am not sure that that train of thought of mine really made sense either.
No problem :)
 

Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4708
  • Thanked: 153 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
The incidence of lefties has increased since the 1940s, wioth increasing tolerance of lefthandedness in primary schools, but it seems to be stabilising around 20 - 25%. This is a somewhat peculiar incidence of any natural phenomenon: evolutionary pressure would suggest that any trait would be either evenly distributed or quite rare.

Another noticeable fact is that there is a higher than average incidence of lefthandedness among mathematicians and physicists in any age cohort of students, and rather fewer lefties among history and literature students. Lefthanded musicians are either rare or suppressed (a lefthanded orchestral violinist is a health and safety hazard to the guy on his right) but there are many leftie composers.

My hypothesis is that obligate righthanders carry a 50% genetic trait that makes us unable to use the left hand well, possibly due to the huge burden placed on the brain by human communication and bipedal walking, requiring early specialisation and dominance of one or other hemisphere. The other 50% are born ambidextrous but society has to be right-biassed to accommodate those with no choice, so about half of the natural ambis choose to go with the flow. This leaves a small number of obligate sinistrals plus a group of ambis who elect to be different.

I think it is these elective sinistrals who, having decided not to run with the herd from an early age, comprise the highly creative, geeky, and top-earning CEO cadre that gets public attention and often end up leading the herd. 

 

Offline dlorde

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1441
  • Thanked: 9 times
  • ex human-biologist & software developer
    • View Profile
I think it is these elective sinistrals who, having decided not to run with the herd from an early age, comprise the highly creative, geeky, and top-earning CEO cadre that gets public attention and often end up leading the herd.
There's a disproportionate number of dyslexics among that group too - according to Malcolm Gladwell in 'David & Goliath' (a good read). He gives a number of possible reasons for it.

I'm a mostly leftie who's become increasingly ambidextrous over the years, whether through necessity in a right-handed world, or because I find it fairly easy and amusing to learn to use the other hand for things (apparently it's good for mental health & development). Oddly, I've always played cricket or golf right-handed, but racquet sports left-handed. I use a knife and fork with the knife right-handed, but when I'm just cutting things up, I use a knife left-handed - which occasionally confuses me...
 

The Naked Scientists Forum


 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums