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Left-handedness linked to brain differences

Scientists have discovered the genetic differences associated with being left-handed, a trait found in 10% of the human population, according to CNN.


Previous research has indicated that genes are at least partially responsible for controlling handedness, but the research concluded that genetic variants with left-handedness included differences in brain structure, which could mean that lefties have better verbal skills than the right-handed majority.

Handedness — your tendency to be more comfortable and skilled using one hand more than the other for tasks like dressing, throwing a ball or writing — is a complex matter.

Between 85% and 90% of the population in Western countries are right-handed. About 10% are left-handed and the remainder thought to be ambidextrous — meaning they’re able to use both hands equally well. The rates of left-handedness are lowest in Africa, Asia and South America, between 4% and 6%.

Left-handers are thought to be better at processing information at a faster rate and have been shown to engage in right-brain activities such as music and painting more readily than righties. On the other hand (pun intended), lefties have also been shown to drink alcohol more often, earn less money, experience increased fear, sleep restlessly and struggle in school more frequently than their right-handed peers.

The majority of items such as keyboards, notebooks, scissors and zippers are designed to favor right-handed users and are sometimes more difficult for left-handers to maneuver. In spite of that, the research suggests a potential link between left-handedness and superior verbal skills.

Many people think handedness is determined by genetics, but it is a complex trait influenced by multiple factors, which includes not only genetics, but chance and environment, as well.

The development of handedness begins before birth and is influenced by genes, as well as both your right-left asymmetry and the right and left hemispheres of your brain. Your prenatal environment and cultural influences may also play a role in determining which hand will dominate.