September 29, 2020


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Why Are Only 10% of People Left-Handed? Here’s What Scientists Know So Far

Are you a rightie or a leftie? No, we are not talking politics below, we...

Are you a rightie or a leftie? No, we are not talking politics below, we are talking handedness. And until you take place to have an abundance of left-handed buddies, you may have noticed how unusual they are. So why are just 1 in 10 of us left-handed?


Whilst no one’s been in a position to definitively make clear this, there are a lot of hypotheses that have been building for far more than a century, and the evidence details to some type of genetic impact. Why? Because the proportion of lefties is approximately the same, anywhere you glimpse on the world.

For those of you who kick a ball on a normal basis, you can be conscious that there are purely natural asymmetries all over the system – you can probably choose for one particular foot over the other when you go to kick.

These asymmetries can be located in almost everything from our toes to our ears, our eyes, and the structure of our brain, Hannah Fry describes over at BBC Upcoming.

If you keep your thumb at arm’s duration, then glimpse at it using one particular eye and then the other, the eye that seems to display the thumb closest to you is your strongest. Equally, you in all probability are likely to answer the mobile phone or listen powering closed doors with one particular ear alternatively than the other – which is your strongest ear.

But why aren’t left-handed and correct-handed men and women born to a approximately fifty:fifty ratio? 


Some specialists suggest that social cooperation, performed out over hundreds of yrs, has presented righties dominant. In other words and phrases, when communities act with each other – in terms of sharing applications and living spaces – using the same hand as absolutely everyone else is helpful.

Others suggest that it’s to do with the way the brain is arranged in two hemispheres, with the left 50 percent controlling the correct side of the system, and the correct 50 percent controlling the left side of the system.

If most people’s brains use the left hemisphere to management intensive language and fine motor skills, the imagining goes, that bias success in the correct hand currently being far more dominant far too.

In reality, one particular of the far more abnormal hypotheses to make clear the rarity of left-handedness is that a genetic mutation in our distant past caused the language centres of the human brain to change to the left hemisphere, properly producing correct-handedness to dominate, Alasdair Wilkins describes for io9 back in 2011.

And though genetics probably engage in a big role in deciding handedness, it’s in all probability not the whole answer. Left-handed moms and dads are far more probably to have left-handed kids than correct-handed moms and dads – a preference that can even be noticed in the womb – but they even now are likely to have far more correct-handed kids all round. 


Researchers have struggled to determine exactly which genes are responsible for rising the possibilities of currently being a leftie.

In 2019, an assessment of 400,000 unique information revealed the first genetic regions associated with handedness – four of them, to be actual. But other research suggests that there are in all probability dozens of genes that engage in a role in deciding no matter whether we end up creating with our left hand or our correct.

On top rated of that, other reports have connected variables these kinds of as oestrogen levels and start posture to different levels of left- and correct-handedness.

In short, there feel to be a whole lot of criteria at engage in, and scientists are possessing a challenging time tying them all with each other. That means we cannot still tell you exactly why you ended up born left or correct-handed, but scientists obviously are working challenging at finding an answer.

And when they do, they will have to make clear why some of us surface to be ambidextrous, far too.

A edition of this article was first posted in Oct 2016.