If you’ve noticed your kid acting weird — brushing their teeth with their left hand, writing with their left hand, throwing with their left hand — they may be part of the 10 percent of the population that suffers from Being Left Handed. Fortunately, titans of psychology like the University Of Chicago’s Daniel Casasanto have been studying this baffling condition and have determined that it’s likely genetic. So … yeah. It’s all your fault. Casasanto recently sat down with The Atlantic to discuss the most recent revelations on Being Left Handed. Here’s what you should know about your poor, weirdly handed kid.
1. They Face A World Of Language Bias
“In our culture — and many others — you’ve got expressions for positive attributes, like ‘The right answer,’ or ‘Right-hand man,’ and expressions for things that are clumsy or bad, like ‘2 left feet,’ says Casasanto. But for your kid, right can be wrong, so don’t tell them they have 2 left feet. Tell them they stink at dancing.
2. They Will Prefer Things That Are On The Left
In one study, Casasanto surveyed subjects about pairs of aliens, asking which one looked more honest, intelligent, and attractive. Righties overwhelmingly selected the alien on the right while lefties opted for the one on the left. Ignore how weird it is that he wanted to know which alien was more attractive, and take the practical advice: If you want your kid to like you better than their mom, stand to the right of her.
3. They Might Come Up With A Weird Name For Your Grandkid
Casasanto found that the number of baby names that begin with letters on the right side of the standard QWERTY keyboard has been going up consistently since computers became the default method of writing stuff in the 90s. Left-handed people can be expected to buck this trend, but rest assured that the number of kids named QWERTY remains relatively low.
4. They Will Use Their Right Hand As A Shield
People are hard-wired to use their nondominant hand to protect themselves, because doing so ensures the hand that feeds them remains usable for important things. Like feeding them. So, yes, you have to get them that baseball/softball glove for their right hand, because that’s the one that will keep the fly ball from breaking their nose.
Flickr / Damon Taylor
5. All That Stuff About “Left Brain/Right Brain” Is Off
Most neuroscience literature states that approach motivation (the motivation to do something constructive) comes from the left hemisphere of the brain, while avoidance motivation comes from the right. “Neuroscientists routinely exclude left-handers, thinking that they just add noise to data,” Casasanto says. His research found that, for lefties, approach motivation actually comes from the opposite side of the brain. That’s not insignificant, considering that lefties suffer disproportionately from schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, and what’s happening where in the brain is pretty important for treatment of that stuff.
That’s not to say your kid’s a psycho, of course. In fact, they’re almost as likely to be president — Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan all were.
H/T The Atlantic