Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Being Different – On the left hand side

Copying from my friends blog : Excellent (http://infomerits.blogspot.com/2009/11/being-different-on-left-hand-side.html)

Nac ouy daer siht ecnetnes? Fi os, ylbaborp uoy era eno fo esoht wef elpoep ohw nac daer eserver osla.

The above sentence is for those people who have the ability to read the words in the reverse direction. It has been found that people who are left handers, can read it first time or faster than others.

Yes. This is about the left handed people in the world. People who used to be the called the ‘bad ones’ historically; this is for them. And you may have guessed that, this is also from one of those people. I am left handed person.

When I was a little boy, I remember that I used to write with left hand and with the same hand I used to eat. I used to do my most of the things using my left hand only. But watching me doing so, my elders in the family asked me to change my hand. According to them, I was using wrong hand to do the things. I can also say I was almost forced to change my hand and as a result, I started writing using ‘right’ hand. Initially I used to write with right hand first and when I am tired of writing with that hand; I change my hand and then start writing with the left hand. Eventually I became ambidextrous. Now I can do things with my both hands. And I don’t know whether it is good or bad.

Here I am putting some of the information which I got from various places. The information is mostly about the left handed people and their history. The information is collected from various sources and need not to mention that one can’t use it as a base of their study. But as far I know I it is from reliable sources. Here I will put all data in bullet form so that you can read points easily or skip some parts.

  • There are various studies have done on number of left handed people, and it was found that approximately 10 to 12 percent of the adult population is left-handed in the world.
  • Studies indicate that left-handedness is more common in males than females
  • In ancient time almost all the civilization, left is taken as the "bad" side. And hence left handed people are also taken as the bad side of the society. And that could be the reason why we found very few old people who are writing with left hand and now as the society has become more open more people with left hand are visible.
  • In his book Right-Hand, Left-Hand, Chris McManus of University College London argues that left-handed people as a group have historically produced an above-average quota of high achievers. He says that left-handers' brains are structured differently in a way that widens their range of abilities, and the genes that determine left-handedness also govern development of the language centers of the brain.
  • In 2006, researchers at Lafayette College and Johns Hopkins University in a study found that left-handed men are 15 percent richer than right-handed men for those who attended college, and 26 percent richer if they graduated. The wage difference is still unexplainable and does not appear to apply to women.

One more theory divides left- and right-handed thinkers into two camps: visual simultaneous vs. linear sequential. According to this theory, right-handed people are thought to process information using a "linear sequential" method in which one thread must complete its processing before the next thread can be started. Left-handed persons are thought to process information using a "visual simultaneous" method in which several threads can be processed simultaneously. Another way to view this is such: Suppose there were one thousand pieces of popcorn and one of them was colored pink. The right-handed person — using the linear sequential processing style — would look at the popcorn one at a time until they encountered the pink one. The left-handed person would spread out the pieces of popcorn and visually look at all of them to find the one that was pink. A side effect of these differing styles of processing is that right handed persons need to complete one task before they can start the next. Left-handed people, by contrast, are capable and comfortable switching between tasks. This seems to suggest that left-handed people have an excellent ability to multi-task, and anecdotal evidence suggests that there are more creative stems due to this ability to multi-task.

Some of the causes of left-handedness according to various sources:

  • In 2007, researchers discovered LRRTM1, the first gene linked to increased odds of being left-handed. The researchers also claim that possessing this gene slightly raises the risk of psychotic mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.
  • Testosterone: Exposure to higher rates of testosterone before birth can lead to a left-handed child. This is the Geschwind theory, named after the neurologist who proposed it, Norman Geschwind. It suggests that variations in levels of testosterone during pregnancy shape the development of the fetal brain. Testosterone suppresses the growth of the left cerebral hemisphere and so more neurons migrate to the right hemisphere. The highly developed right hemisphere is now better suited to function as the center of language and handedness. The fetus is more likely to become left-handed, since the right hemisphere controls the left half of the body. The theory goes on to tie the exposure to higher levels of testosterone and the resultant right-hemisphere dominance to auto-immune disorders, learning disorders, dyslexia, and stuttering, as well as increased spatial ability.
  • Ultrasound theory: Ultrasound scans may affect the brain of unborn children, causing higher rates of left-handedness in mothers who have ultrasound scans compared to those who do not.

Tools and Left Handers

  • As most of the people on this planet are right handed, hence most of the tools are made for them only. So for a left handed person, it is become very difficult to use tool design for wrong hand. You can take example like, scissors, handles, Japanese knives, tools or even our own computer mouse.
  • Many of the left handed people have poor handwriting or they write slower than others. The pen could also be the reason for that.
  • Later designers have found this flaw and now creating for both kinds of people.

Left handers in Sports

  • In sports, most of the times being left handed are at advantage. In sports like boxing and fencing, most of the opponent will be right handed person and is trained to fight against right handed person only. So left handed person, who is trained to fight against right can easily defeat the opponent.
  • In boxing, someone who boxes left-handed is frequently referred to as southpaw. Most boxers, southpaw or otherwise, tend to train with sparring partners who adopt a right-handed stance, which gives southpaws an advantage.
  • Written rule in polo states that one must not hold a stick in his or her left arm. There are very few left-handed professionals in polo; all are required to use their right hand.
  • We can see many good left handed players in games like cricket or baseball.
  • In tennis, left-handers impart spin on the ball that is opposite of that which a right hander would hit. As a result, right-handed players (who are accustomed to playing right handers) have difficulty dealing with a left-hander's shots which curve in a direction opposite to what they are accustomed to facing. Rafael Nadal, despite being right-handed, plays left-handed tennis after being encouraged to do so by his coach for this very reason.
  • In sports like cricket, hockey, football, basket ball, baseball; being left handed person is advantageous.

Some of the famous people

Left-Handed U.S. Presidents

  • James A. Garfield (1831-1881) 20th
  • Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) 31st
  • Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) 33rd
  • Gerald Ford (1913- ) 38th
  • Ronald Reagan (1911 - ) 40th
  • George H.W. Bush (1924- ) 41st
  • Bill Clinton (1946- ) 42nd
  • Barack Obama (1961- ) 44th
Left-Handed Actors
  • Amitabh Bachchan
  • Charlie Chaplin
  • Tom Cruise
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Sarah Jessica Parker
  • Julia Roberts
  • Slyvester Stallone
  • Bruce Willis
  • Oprah Winfrey
    Left-Handed Cricketers
    • Alan Border
    • Alistair Campbell
    • Denis Compton
    • Saurav Ganguly
    • David Gower
    • Gary Sobers
    Miscellaneous Left-Handers
    • Joan of Arc, French heroine
    • Alexander the Great
    • Julius Caesar, Roman general
    • Napoléon Bonaparte, French emperor
    • Queen Victoria of England
    • King George II of England
    • King George VI of England
    • Prince Charles of England
    • Prince William of England
    • Fidel Castro, Cuban leader
    • Henry Ford, automobile manufacturer
    • Dwight F. Davis, founder of the Davis Cup in tennis
    • Helen Keller, advocate for the blind
    • John F. Kennedy, Jr., lawyer/publisher
    • Michelangelo, (artist)
    • Raphael, (artist)
    • Leonardo da Vinci (artist)

    The list is quite long. I am putting very few names here. For full list click here (external link)

    Last but not the least; August 13 is celebrated as International Left Handers Day.

    Please do write your comments here about this article or give suggestions if you have some. Thanks.

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