Mental Health Monday–Left Handedness and Creativity

Writer (and soon to be pubbed author, yo!), blogging bud, and whale enthusiast Kendall Grey announced her interest and fascination with left-handed peeps (1 in 10 people are left-handed, BTW) on Twitter a couple days ago and lo and behold it prompted a Mental Health Monday post. Thanks, Kendall!

With a quick Google search, I found an article from 2000 on summarizing a presentation by Dr. Alan Searleman to the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Searleman’s findings recapped:

  • Out of a sample of 1200 people surveyed, left-handers have higher “fluid” intelligence and better vocabulary, which lends them more talent in creative endeavors such as art, music, and writing
  • Left-handed people tend to have higher IQ’s

Interesting, right? (Well, it is for leftys like me, LOL!)

And don’t fear, right-handers, you’re creative and artistic, too, ‘kay? This is only one study. 😉

Now, sidedness can also be for sight and sound. For instance, Dr. Searleman also posited that people who use their left eyes and left ears dominantly are twice as good at problem solving and have larger vocabularies than their right-handed, eyed, and eared peers.

For those of you right-handers who are ready to ban my blog for forever more, here’s some info that’ll make you feel better.

  • Left-handed people tend to have worse memory (TRUE!!! I can attest to that.)
  • Left-handed people are more clumsy. (Again, true…much to my chagrin.)
  • Left-handed people have a shorter lifespan (son of a bitch!)
  • Left-handedness was once considered the sign of the devil. (rawr)
  • The latin word for left is sinister. (shifty-eyes)
  • Children who were naturally left-handed were forced to learn how to write with their right hands. (This actually happened; my grandmother went through it herself.)
  • And, let’s face it, it’s a right-handed world. (Need I mention anything about scissors? I didn’t think so.)

So, what have you heard about left-handed peeps?

Be sure to check out Lydia’s Medical Monday post and Sarah’s psychologically related post. Remember, the information in this blog series is for writing purposes only and is NOT meant to be medical advice or treatment.

17 comments on “Mental Health Monday–Left Handedness and Creativity

  1. I know many left-handed people, and they are very creative and intelligent. Blessings to you, my left-handed friend.

  2. Sarah says:

    Haha–I’m left-handed, too! I’ve always liked it because I felt kinda unique, except, honestly, it was nothing but a pain when I was in school. I always had smears of pencil lead from the tip of my pinky to my wrist. I always had the worst handwriting, no matter how hard I worked on it. Now, fortunately, I can depend on keyboards for my writing needs. And, as for my illegible signature, I’m lucky to have the “I’m a doctor” excuse 😛

  3. Kendall Grey says:

    Awesome post, Laura, and thanks for the shout-out! I found a few more trivia bits to add. I noticed many of our recent US presidents were left-handed, so I investigated. Turns out only 8 presidents are/were lefties, BUT out of our last 7 presidents, 5 were lefties! Wonder what that’s about? Here are all 8:

    James A. Garfield (1831-1881) 20th
    Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) 31st
    Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) 33rd
    Gerald Ford (1913- ) 38th
    Ronald Reagan (1911 – ) 40th
    George H.W. Bush (1924- ) 41st
    Bill Clinton (1946- ) 42nd
    Barack Obama (1961- ) 44th

    Also, since I’m a whale freak… North Atlantic humpback whales (and perhaps others – I haven’t looked in to any other types) exhibit “handedness” just like people. Jaw scuffing marks from bottom feeding suggest that 80% are righties, and 20% are lefties. Ain’t Mother Nature awesome?

  4. Vicki Tremper says:

    My great-aunt was naturally left-handed and forced at school to write with her right hand. She had fairly atrocious handwriting as a result.

  5. Karen Lange says:

    My oldest son is left handed, which seemed different at first b/c no one in our family (that we knew of) was. But it wasn’t like anything was wrong, and of course he is as smart as can be, and does everything very well. 🙂 Funny though, he plays hockey and shoots right handed.

  6. Charli Mac says:

    I am a proud lefty. In catholic grade school I remember using the Palmer Method Handwriting workbooks. I taught myself to write slanted like a right-handed writer as to not draw attention to myself. My handwriting is pretty decent I must say. (Sorry for the Edward Grimley reference.)

    I am creative. Not so sure about my IQ. I always did terrible on standardized tests. I am forgetful and clumsy. I bat right handed in softball but throw left. I cut with right handed scissiors. Interesting….

    Thanks for the post. 🙂

  7. Linda Gray says:

    Hmmm, interesting. I wonder if lefties are better able to think outside the box, too. I’m glad the tyranny against ‘sinister’ handedness has been recognized and thwarted, finally. I’ve even seen left-handed scissors at the hardware store! (p.s. I’ve known a couple of people who are ambidextrous–any scientific evidence linking that to outside-the-norm brain functions?)

  8. I love this information. I’m right-handed but I do a lot of things left-handed and some things I can do with either hand.

  9. Lydia K says:

    Left handedness sounds like a pain in a right handed world. I’ll never forget how Meggie Cleary suffered as a left-handed child in her Catholic school in The Thorn Birds. They strapped her left arm to her body all day!

  10. lenny says:

    hi miss dr laura! wow i didnt know all that stuff bout lefty and righty. you didnt say any thing bout using both cause thats what i do. when one gets tired i switch off to the other. does that mean im just half smart and half creative? sorry bout now living so long for being a lefty. ack!
    …hugs from lenny

  11. Lynn Rush says:

    LOVE this!!! What about us who can use both hands? 🙂 This was a fun post. Thanks!

  12. I have twin boys. One’s right handed, the other is left handed. Oddly enough, the right handed one is clumsier and more creative.

  13. em says:

    I was switched as a child in Catholic school from left to right handedness. I had to stay after school every day for months with boys who were being punished for various infractions. My brain didn’t make the shift though, and I still tend toward all the lefty tendencies. Very artsy, not toooo terribly bad with the clumsy, large vocabulary, memory not so … wait, what were we talking about? 😉

  14. J E Fritz says:

    Coincidentally, I wrote a post (due to go up Friday) about left-hand prejudice and superstitions. It’s prevalent across most cultures, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or what have you.

    Crazy, isn’t it? It’s just how the brain is wired. People make a big deal over the silliest things.

  15. Wait a second. I’m extremely clumpsy and forgetful. If I was left handed, I would be even more so? Wow, that’s slightly depressing. Or maybe I’m just relieved to be right handed. 🙂

  16. No way! Left handed people have shorter lifespans? :((((

    My son is a lefty. That’s not true! 😛

    Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
    YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!

  17. aparnanairphotography says:

    You’re left-handed!? OMG. We can’t be friends any longer!

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