Against All Odds, Lefties Continue their Heroic, Admirable Rise through American Society

The Wall Street Journal’s “Left-Handed Like Me” article starts well enough, noting “Left-handers have been the subject of curiosity, stigma and even fear over the centuries.” It’s like Yoda said in Star Wars. Curiosity becomes stigma. Stigma becomes fear. Fear becomes a different kind of scissors.

Still, being genetically superior does come with its drawbacks.

Handedness, as the dominance of one hand over the other is called, provides a window into the way our brains are wired, experts say. And it may help shed light on disorders related to brain development, like dyslexia, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, which are more common in left-handed people.

Other recent research suggests that mixed-handedness—using different hands for daily tasks and not having a dominant one—may be even more strongly linked than left-handedness to ADHD and possibly other conditions.

Yeah, but aren’t those conditions just loveable quirks? Also, mixed-handedness? Is that even real? Pick a side, you waffling bastards. These must be the stupid undecided voters who ruin every election for the rest of us.

Anyway, what causes left-handedness? Answer: overcoming prenatal obstacles by dint of your awesomeness:

More important, researchers say, are environmental factors—especially stress—in the womb. Babies born to older mothers or at a lower birth weight are more likely to be lefties, for example. And mothers who were exposed to unusually high levels of stress during pregnancy are more likely to give birth to a left-handed child.

Whereas any right-handed fetus would likely quit in the face of a highly stressful pregnancy, lefties stick it out.

And left-handed people have salaries that on average are about 10% lower than righties, according to recent research performed at Harvard University that analyzed large income data bases, although findings of some earlier studies were mixed.

Finally, there is evidence that the glass ceiling was screwed in lefty-loosey, righty-tighty-style. Or something. I’m not sure how that metaphor works, but I can only assume it truly illustrates the way that lefties are constantly being persecuted by evil righties. The news isn’t all bad, though. Apparently lefties don’t die any younger than righties. Oh, and we lay claim to six of the last twelve presidents.

Nevertheless, the Journal makes at least one unfortunate suggestion:

And knowing that a child was mixed-handed and had ADHD symptoms at age 8 helped predict much more accurately than just knowing they had symptoms at that age whether the child would continue to have symptoms at age 16. (What happens when people are forced to switch from writing with their dominant hand to the other isn’t well known, experts say.)

No, Wall Street Journal! Bad! You are not allowed to suggest that lefties be sent to re-education camps where they have to learn that being right-handed is the One True Way. No!

One reason that not more is known about lefties is that many studies of how the brain works prohibit left-handers from participating because their brain wiring is known to be different, says Robin Nusslock, a psychology professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., who uses neuroimaging to study mood disorders.

This is also one reason I’m a few hundred dollars poorer than I would otherwise be. See, in college, one always had the option of earning a little extra money by doing psych experiments (the best of which are any ones that involve shopping, for the simple reason that in order to make the choice real, they have to actually give you money to shop with). Among the most lucrative are the many that involve getting an fMRI. Regrettably, those were off-limits to lefties. Because our brains don’t matter, apparently. On the plus side, my account still works here!

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One thought on “Against All Odds, Lefties Continue their Heroic, Admirable Rise through American Society

  1. kita says:

    It’s like Yoda said in Star Wars. Curiosity becomes stigma. Stigma becomes fear. Fear becomes a different kind of scissors.

    Yoda said that? Wow. I need to check in again with the Old Wise one. Curiosity IS a different kind of scissors.

    If that stress during pregnancy leading to left-handedness thing goes viral there’s no telling what could would happen to the handedness queue to the fMRI skew.

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