did you know?

Left-handedness: scientific and historical facts (1)

Are you left or right-handed? Is anybody in your family, or a friend of yours, left-handed? Did you know that left-handedness is associated with the right hemisphere of our brain? If you often read this blog and have a strong memory, you’ll probably remember a post about left and right brain activities. If you don’t, I’ll help your memory… 😉

Remember this table summing up the main functions associated with our left brain and our right brain?

As you can see, the left brain is concerned more with logical and linguistic activities while the right brain controls creativity and visualization.

In about 10% of worldwide population right brain functions are predominant. These people are left-handed.

Yes, I wrote right, and it’s not a mistake. 😉 In fact the right brain controls the left side of our body, and vice-versa.

It is still not clear why some people are left-handed, while the others are not. It is certain, however, that left-handedness is caused by some not-dominant genes. In fact, even if the son of a left-handed man is right-handed, his grand-son may be left-handed.

In the past left-handedness was not well seen by common people, and left-handedness was often associated with evil possession. We can find evidence of this in the language. In Latin, for example, the word sinister meant both ‘left-handed’ and ‘evil’ or ‘unlucky’. The Italian word for left-handed, mancino, derives from the Latin mancus, which means ‘mutilated’ or ‘cripple’. This is why children naturally born left-handed were forced in the past with many bodily punishments to use and write with their right hands.

Scientists have noticed that people who were forced to use their right hand developed some problems of lateralization and often confused left and right. A famous example is King George VI, whose stammer is said to have resulted from the correction of his left-handedness. (Have you watched the film “The king’s speech”?) It was only in the 70s that left-handedness started to be considered as an individual characteristic and not as a fault to be punished.

Do you know any people who were forced to be right-handed?

Leave your opinion below 😉


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