THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Ever since I was a little kid, I wished I was left-handed. I use to try to write with my left hand, eat dinner with a fork in my left hand, even brush my teeth with my left hand. I thought it would be fun to be different. More importantly, since I loved baseball, I thought it would increase the chances that I would become a professional baseball player as a pitcher. I even practiced throwing left-handed for a bit, but that didn’t last long as I was terrible.
Baseball and Handedness
Statistically speaking, only 10% of the population is left-handed. Men are more likely to be left-handed than women. In the world of baseball, almost 40% of Major League pitchers are left-handed. Have you checked out the latest salary figures of Major
League baseball players? The average salary is currently $3.1 million.
I actually use to play baseball with two guys that got drafted to the Majors. One was a right-handed pitcher, who got drafted in the 27th round. He received a signing bonus in the tens of thousands. The other was a left-handed pitcher, who was drafted in the first round. He received signing bonus close to $2 million. Can you see the premium Major League Baseball puts on talented left-handed pitchers?
Creativity and Handedness
In the 1990s, there was also a study that found that left-handers were more creative. Think about it: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein. Each of them was left-handed. But since the 90s, there has been further research pointing to the fact that left-handedness is not always ideal.
Pregnancy and Handedness
When my wife was pregnant, I use to tell her that it would be fun if our son was left-handed (of course, I had baseball on my mind). She always countered with, “I hope not!” That’s because she had read that mothers of children born left-handed were often exposed to unusually high levels of stress during pregnancy.
In my own research, I found one British study that demonstrated that the fetuses of extremely stressed pregnant women were more likely to touch their faces more with their left hands than with their right. This could be one of the first signs of a left-handed child, according to researchers.
Other evidence supports that theory, too. In one 2008 Swedish study of moms and their five-year-old children, women who were depressed or stressed during their pregnancies were more likely to have ambidextrous or left-handed kids. In other studies, babies with low birth weight, or born to older mothers, were more likely to be lefties as well.
Twins and Handedness
In addition, a 1996 Belgian study found that about 21% of twins, both fraternal and identical, are left-handed, which is twice the rate of the general population. Scientists have not yet figured out why this is, yet.
Mental Health and Handedness
Left-handedness appears to be associated with a greater risk for a number of psychiatric and developmental disorders. While lefties make up about 10% of the overall population, about 20% of people with schizophrenia are lefties, for example.
Myths and Handedness
There are a ton of old wives’ tales around being left-handed that have been passed down over the years. The word “sinister” stems from a Latin word meaning “left”. Middle Eastern people historically used their right hand for eating and their left for more unclean, digestion-related tasks. My wife’s aunt was born left-handed, and while she was in grade school in Iran, she was forced to use her right hand. The nuns at her school made it clear that being left-handed was not acceptable.
Money and Handedness
So, what does handedness have to do with money? A study by Joshua Goodman, an economist from Harvard, says that left-handed people earn on average 10-12% less than those who are right-handed. The gap in pay between left-handed and right-handed people was $2,500 for men and $3,400 for women.
Goodman also determined that the pay gap may suggest a cognitive disadvantage in terms of neurological wiring. This is in conjunction to a manual disadvantage that exists in a labor market.
So, is all hope lost if you’re left-handed? No way, or as Lee Corso likes to say, “Not so fast, my friend.”
College Education and Handedness
Economists from Lafayette College and Johns Hopkins University found that college-educated men who reported left-handedness earned 13% more than those who reported being right-handed.
Those left-handed men who completed all 4 years of college earned on average 21% more than their right-handed counterparts. Interestingly enough, researchers found no differences between college-educated women in terms of handedness and earnings.
Only Subtle Differences
Some contend that there really aren’t significant differences between lefties and righties. Dr. Yeo, professor of psychology at UT-Austin, believes this and says any difference is more of a scientific interest rather than practical information.
Dr. Yeo asserts that we shouldn’t make personality or health judgements just because of a person’s handedness. That’s because success isn’t determined by handedness. After all, 4 of the last 6 US Presidents have been ambidextrous or left-handed!
Are you left-handed? Have you had any troubles dealing with this right-handed world? Share your thoughts below.