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Top 5 Backwards Facts About Being Left-Handed

VO: Chris Masson

Written by George Pacheco

They may only make up about ten percent of the world's population, but these folks are proud to be different! Welcome to WatchMojo's Top 5 Facts, and today we're counting down our picks for the most fascinating and perhaps little known facts about being left-handed.

Special thanks to our users Rob Lucchesi for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Written by George Pacheco

Top 5 Facts About Being Left-Handed

They may only make up about ten percent of the world's population, but these folks are proud to be different! Welcome to WatchMojo's Top 5 Facts, and today we're counting down our picks for the most fascinating and perhaps little known facts about being left-handed.

#5: Left-Handed People Were Often Considered to Be Evil

People are always afraid of what they don't understand, and surprisingly enough, this also has historically applied to the left-handed. The term "Sinister" comes from the Latin word for left,while the religion of Satanism is often referred to as "The Left Hand Path." Some of the British aristocracy enforced the learning of right-handed behavior for those born left-handed, with the assumption being that those born a lefty possessed the sign of a "defiant" personality. It was also common at the time for British schoolchildren to have their left hand tied down, in order to force them to do everything with their right. King George VI was forced to switch from lefty to righty, and some think this might have been the cause of his famous stutter. 19th century Italian physician Cesare Lombroso, often called the father of criminology, thought that lefties tapped into the lower part of the brain where man's "base desires" were kept, leading to a greater propensity towards wickedness.

#4: Lefties Often Had an Advantage in Battle

There are a few historical examples of lefties having an advantage in battle, like the fearsome Biblical warriors known as the Benjamites, a tribe whose soldiers had been retrained to fight with their left hands. There's also the tale of the traditionally left-handed Clan Kerr of Scotland, who famously constructed their castles with counter-clockwise staircases to give them an advantage in battle against their opponents during the reign of William the Conqueror. In our more “civilized” modern society, sports are probably a more apt milieu to look at, because it seems that in a number of sports, southpaws have the upper hand. Researchers feel that in one-on-one sports like boxing and tennis,the continued practice against right handed people leads to an edge in these left-handed professionals, as opposed to the majority of right handed athletes who may not always have the chance to test their skills against an opponent of the opposite hand.

#3: Left-Handers Are More Prone to Negative Emotions

Neurologists have long known that right-handed people use the left side of their brain to process speech, while lefties sometimes, but not always use the right and/or left side. This peculiarity has led to a lot of curiosity and research over the years.According to various small studies, lefties are more prone to some emotional challenges than righties. Lefties tend to be self conscious and critical, worried about making mistakes and what others might think. They're more known for harboring negative emotions such as anger and embarrassment,feeling constricted and unable to properly process their feelings. By showing lefties and righties scary movies and observing their fear reactions British researchers found that the right side of the brain may be more susceptible to post traumatic stress disorder, which would explain why PTSD is nearly twice as prevalent in lefties. The brain still holds many mysteries though, and more research is needed on all these discoveries.  

#2: Handedness May Influence Your Physical and Mental Health

Researchers from various studies have found that anywhere from 20 to 40% of those suffering from schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder favor their left hand. Lefties make up only 10% of the general population, however. Scientists also saw an increase in dyslexia, ADHD and mood disorders in left-handed people, according to a 2010 pediatric study.This bump isn’t true of all psychological issues though, as lefties are afflicted by depression and bipolar disorder at average rates.  Oh man, sound like lefties have it kinda rough. Here’s one small comfort: one large scale study found that southpaws have less arthritis and fewer ulcers.

#1: Lefties Have Had a Lot of Success in Politics

It's true! In the last century, there have been a disproportionate amount of American presidents who are left-handed, including Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford and Harry Truman. It's even rumored that Ronald Reagan was actually born left-handed, but his teachers pushed him to write and perform as a righty, probably thanks to those prejudices we mentioned earlier. Lefty politicians also seem to have the upper hand in debates, as most people tend to view left-handed gestures, such as handshakes, finger pointing or waves, as negative when compared to those performed with the right hand. But shouldn’t that work against them? Well, thanks to the magic of television, this is reversed on viewers at home. A Dutch study actually postulated that it was this phenomenon which led to a feeling of increased confidence amongst voters. Take it with a grain of salt though; over in the UK,less than 10 percent of prime ministers have been left-handed, while Canada hasn’t had one since 1980.

So, did any of these left-handed facts get you thinking? Do you think being born left-handed is a sign of The Devil? For more brain-training top tens and everything-done-backwards top fives, be sure to subscribe to!

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