From mythsto modern research, the label attached to being left-handed is undeniable. Left-handed people, or “lefties” as they are often called, are generally believed to be good at art –Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso and Michelangelo Buonarroti were all left-handed.
But what exactly makes someone left-handed or right-handed?
Our brain is divided into two parts: the left hemisphere, and the right hemisphere. The left hemisphere, linked to logic and analysis, is responsible for the right side of the body. The right hemisphere, linked to creativity and imagination, controls the left side of the body.
So, people tend to believe lefties are controlled by the right side of the brain, and are more creative than right-handers. Some also think that lefties may not be as good as demonstrating mathematical and problem-solving skills as their right-handed counterparts.
However, a recent study carried out by scientists from the University of Liverpool in the UK and the University of Milan in Italy proved this theory wrong.
The study, published on academic website The Conversation, involved more than 2,300 students in Italy aged between 6 and 17 years old. They were asked to complete several mathematical tasks of different skill levels.
It turned out the left-handers outperformed the others when the tasks involved difficult problem-solving. This pattern was particularly clear in male adolescents.
However, when it came to simple arithmetic, there was no difference between left- and right-handers.
It was also discovered that those who are “severely” right-handed performed less well in all the experiments compared to “moderate” right-handers and left-handers.
“Taken together, these findings show that handedness... does influence [abilities] to some extent,” the study’s authors wrote.
Nevertheless, “handedness is just an indirect expression of brain function,” wrote psychology professor Giovanni Sala from the University of Liverpool in the UK, lead author of the study. Sala also noted that only one third of people with a highly-developed right side of the brain are left-handed. It means that there are lots of right-handed people with a similar brain function as left-handers.
Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin are some famous left-handers. And at least six former US presidents are left-handed, including Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. So if you’re a leftie, you might be on your way to becoming a genius, or even the president.