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Government Gazette

Left-Handers Day 2009

Through the looking glass: When left is always right:

The annual Left-Handers Day for 2009 falls today and is a chance for left-handers everywhere to celebrate the advantages of being left-handed and raise awareness among righties of the daily frustrations for left-handers living in a right-handed world.

South paw power

The Left Handers Club will be encouraging its 70,000 members worldwide to create a Lefty Zone in their home, office or club where all tasks must be conducted left-handed, an interesting experience for right-handed friends and family!

Left-Handers Club spokesperson Lauren Milsom explains, “Many of us appreciate how awkward it is for left-handers having to use right-handed implements, or develop a good writing style, but few people are aware of the many advantages to being left-handed, and the outstanding achievements and successes of left-handers in a variety of fields. Left-Handers Day is the ideal opportunity to celebrate those advantages.”

The Left Handers Day website is at www.lefthandersday.com and has lots of ideas on how to celebrate the day, free posters to download, a left-handed quiz and loads of information about being left-handed.

A fascinating research study being published in advance of International Left-Handers Day today claims that our handedness is a major subliminal influence in the choices and decisions we make in all aspects our daily lives.

The decision making process of left-handers has been studied by Daniel Casasanto of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands, through a series of tasks comparing the preference of left and right handers to objects presented to them from the left or right.

He found that righties tend to judge objects on their right side as positive and objects on their left side as negative.

Lefties do the opposite, pairing positive things with their left side and negative things with their right. Casasanto believes this is because for left-handers, the left side of any space has positive moral, intellectual, and emotional connotations whereas for righties, the right side does.

That association could apply in situations ranging from whether we choose one brand of coffee over another simply because of its position on the supermarket shelves to whom we might identify as a criminal suspect because of their position in a police lineup.

“We have this illusion that we base our decisions largely on relevant and sufficient information, yet social psychology over the past decades has shown us that there are lots of other factors that shape our judgments.” Casasanto said.


The Left-Handers Club was formed in 1990 aiming to keep members in touch with developments, make their views known to manufacturers and others, provide a help & advice line, to promote research into left-handedness and development of new left-handed items.

Since its formation the Club has gone from strength to strength with members all over the world and is highly regarded as the foremost pressure group and advice centre on all aspects of left-handedness.

No-one has come up with a definitive reason for WHY some people are left-handed, but about 13 percent of the population around the world are, and it is thought to be genetic, it definitely runs in families.

Researchers have recently located a gene they believe ‘makes it possible to have a left-handed child’, so if you have that gene, one or more of your children may be left-handed, whereas without it, you will only have right-handers, sorry! The good news is, that if you are left-handed yourself, you have that gene and will pass it on through the generations!

The way the brain works is incredibly complex, but this simplified explanation will give you some understanding of where our left-hand dominance comes from.

The brain is ‘cross-wired’ so that the left hemisphere controls the right handed side of the body and vice-versa and hand dominance is connected with brain dominance on the opposite side, which is why we say that only left-handers are in their right minds!


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