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Left Handers - Rejoice: August 13th Was International Left Handers Day
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Left Handers  -  Rejoice: August 13th Was International Left Handers Day

In 1992, the Left Handers Club launched International Left Handers Day, an annual event held on August 13th which encourages left handed people to celebrate sinistrality and to educate the public on the experience of being left-handed, including the positives and negatives. International Left Handers Day soon caught on and is celebrated in countries around the world.

In 2001, there were more than 20 events held on a regional level in the United Kingdom alone, including a left-handed tea party, pub events featuring left-handed corkscrews and pub games played solely with the left hand, left vs. right sporting events and “Lefty Zones” in locations nationwide where the athletic abilities, creativity and adaptability of left handers were celebrated. Right handed people were also given the opportunity to try left-handed tools and other common objects to see for themselves how difficult it can be to use items designed for someone else. These events have helped raise awareness of the problems that left-handed people face and have spurred the design of products which are better designed for use by left handers; although there is still plenty of work to be done.

The causes of left-handedness are not completely understood, but it is known that somewhere around 13% of the world’s population and that genetics are thought to play a role, since left-handedness tends to run in families. A gene was recently found which researchers think may provide the possibility of having left-handed children; without this gene, parents will only have right-handed children. If you happen to be left-handed, you have the gene and will pass it on to your own descendents.

At the risk of oversimplifying an incredibly complex topic, the brain is, so to speak, cross-wired. The left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for the right hand side of the body. It is also the hemisphere which controls linear thinking: writing, logic, math, science, language and speech. This is the hemisphere which is dominant in right-handed people. The right hemisphere of the brain is associated with holistic thinking: creativity, art, music and insightful perception. This is the hemisphere which is dominant in left handers; it’s also the reason behind the saying that only left-handed people are in their right minds!

This left vs. right hemisphere dominance is why left-handed people are more likely to be visual, creative thinkers. This is borne out by the higher than average proportion of left-handed people in creative professions like music and other arts, as well as the media as a whole; you can learn more details from the Lifestyle Survey of Left-Handers. Left-handed people also tend to be better at 3 dimensional spatial reasoning, which is why a higher than average percentage of architects are left-handed. Left handers are also generally good at sports and other activities which demand good eye-hand coordination.

There is a common misconception that left-handed people are clumsy, but this is actually the result of having to use right-handed tools and other items rather than anything having to do with their natural capabilities.

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