The belief that there is a link between creativity and left-handedness has a long history. Leonardo da Vinci was left-handed as is Prince Harry, former US president Barack Obama and business leader Bill Gates.
But is it true that left-handers are more likely to be geniuses? According to a new study, there’s a direct link between which hand you use and your mathematical ability. It is estimated that between 10% – 13.5% of the population are not right-handed. Hand preference is a manifestation of brain function, relating to cognition. Left-handers exhibit a more developed right brain hemisphere, which is specialised for processes such as spatial reasoning.
Also, the corpus callosum, the bundle of nerves connecting the two brain hemispheres, are larger in left-handers. This suggests that left-handers have an enhanced connectivity between the two hemispheres and hence superior information processing. Multiple theories argue that living in a world designed for right-handers forces left-handers to sue both hands, thereby increasing connectivity (which might indicate why left-handers seem to have an edge in the creative industry also).
Needless to say, efficient information processing and superior spatial skills are essential in all these activities. But, what about the link between left-handedness and mathematical skill? Unsurprisingly, the role played by handedness in mathematics has always been of interest. Studies have found that the rate of left-handedness among students talented in mathematics was far greater among the general popular.
However, the idea that left-handedness is a predictor of superior intellectual ability has been challenged recently. Several scholars have claimed that left-handedness is not related to any advantage in cognitive skills, and may even exert detrimental effects on general cognitive function and, hence, academic achievement.