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Left-Handed Brains

February 8, 2011

Left-handers suffer more from learning disabilities but can also excel in spatial visualization.


Lefties vs. righties…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Today’s Why Is It question comes from David Chang of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, who wants to know if left-handers are smarter than right-handers. We asked cognitive scientist Stanley Coren, professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia and author of “The Left-Hander Syndrome.” He says left-handedness often occurs due to stress during birth, which affects pathways in the brain. As a result, some learning disabilities are more prevalent in left-handed people. But Coren says they also tend to excel in jobs requiring spatial visualization.

STANLEY COREN (University of British Columbia):
Like artists and architects and chess masters and that sort of thing, we tend to find a higher number of left-handers.

It all depends on which parts of the brain get affected during that crucial moment of development. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.