Left-handedness

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By Sophia Moseleyfreelance writer (Sophiawriting4u.co.uk)

Discover some fascinating facts and statistics about the world of left-handedness

Left-handedness

Nicole Kidman and Goldie Hawn are left-handed; Jimi Hendrix was left-handed; and Michaelangelo, who painted the Sistine Chapel in Rome, was also left-handed. These people are included in the very small minority of those who were born with a slightly different brain function from the rest of us, which makes them left-handed.

There is a great deal of ongoing research into the functions of the brain and one of the areas covered by these studies is why some people’s brains develop in such a way as to make the person use their left hand in preference to their right.

Left-handedness and mental health

The year 2008 was the centenary for the naming of a mental illness called ‘schizophrenia’. In 1908, a Swiss psychiatrist named Eugene Bleuler discovered that there were significant differences between certain psychological disorders, and came up with the name schizophrenia for one of them. Leading British psychiatrist, Professor Tim Crow, believes the gene that sets us apart from apes and creates the imbalance of the human brain, which enables us to communicate with speech, also creates the potential for schizophrenia. This seems a bit harsh. It is only a theory and in reality, there is only approximately one per cent of adults worldwide that suffer from the condition. So, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not really worth worrying about. But read on and make up your own mind.

Why, you may ask, am I mentioning such a disorder under the subject heading of left-handedness? Well, there is some evidence to suggest that there might be a link between left-handedness and certain mental disorders, schizophrenia being among them.

However, don’t despair, it is not all bad news and anyway, the left-handed among us are in a very elite group that proportionately have far more famous and talented people than the more common right-handed group. Worldwide there are around 12 per cent of people who are left-handed, and there is approximately three per cent who are ambidextrous.

The science

There is a tremendous amount of research that has been carried out and still continues into a person’s ‘handedness’. The studies form part of the exploration of our brains and how they work. So, not only are the many theories themselves evolving, but there is some speculation as to the accuracy of these theories as the make-up of the brain continues to be analysed.

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