Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Left-Handed U.S. Presidents

Left-Handed U.S. Presidents There have been eight left-handed presidents that we know of. However, this number is not necessarily accurate because in the past left-handedness was actively discouraged. Many individuals who would have grown up left-handed were in fact forced  to learn how to write with their right hand. If recent history is any indication, left-handedness seems to be far more common among U.S. presidents than it is among the general population. Naturally, this apparent phenomenon has led to many speculations.   Left-Handed Presidents James Garfield  (March-September 1881) is considered by many to be the first president who was  left-handed. Anecdotes indicate  that he was ambidextrous and  could write with both hands at the same time. However, he served only six months before succumbing to gunshot wounds after Charles Guiteau shot him in July of his first term. James A. GarfieldHerbert HooverHarry S. TrumanGerald FordRonald ReaganGeorge H.W. BushBill ClintonBarack Obama Getty Images for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights / Getty Images Beating the Odds What is perhaps most noteworthy about left-handed presidents is how many there have been in recent decades. Of the last 15 presidents, seven (about 47%) have been left-handed. That might not mean much until you consider that the global percentage of left-handed people is about 10%. So among the general population, only 1 in 10 people are left-handed, while in the modern-era White House, almost 1 in 2 have been left-handed. And theres every reason to believe that this trend will continue because its no longer standard practice to steer children away from natural left-handedness.   Lefty Doesnt Mean  Left, But What Does It Mean? A quick count of political parties in the list above shows the Republicans slightly  ahead of the Democrats, with five of the eight lefties being Republican. If the numbers were reversed, perhaps someone would argue that left-handed people are more in line with left politics. After all, many people believe that left-handedness seems to correspond to creative, or at least out of the box thinking, pointing to famous lefty artists such as Pablo Picasso, Jimi Hendrix, and Leonardo Di Vinci. While this theory obviously wouldnt be supported by the history of left-handed presidents, the unusually high percentage of lefties in the White House may point to other characteristics that may give lefties an edge in leadership roles (or at least at winning elections):   Language development: According to scientists Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt, authors of Welcome to Your Brain, 1  in 7 left-handed people use both hemispheres (left and right) of their brain to process language, while almost all right-handed people process language on only the left side of the brain (the left side controls the right hand, and vice versa). Its possible that this ambidextrous language processing gives lefties an advantage as orators.  Creative thinking: Studies have shown a correlation between left-handedness and creative thinking, or more specifically, divergent thinking, or an aptitude for developing multiple solutions to problems. Chris McManus, the author of Right-Hand, Left-Hand, suggests that left-handedness may be associated with a more highly developed right hemisphere of the brain, the side thats better at creative thinking. This may also explain the over-representation of left-handed artists.   So, if youre a lefty who gets annoyed with all the right-handed bias in the world, perhaps you can help change things  as our next president.

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