January 3, 2013

Are Left Handed People Really More Creative?

Today's guest post is from Linda Forshaw, a Business Information Systems graduate from Lancaster University in the UK. Linda is the head blog writer for college ranking website DegreeJungle, as well as a full time writer and blogger specializing in education, social media, and entrepreneurship. Contact her on Twitter @seelindaplay.

Type "are left handed people more creative" into Google and you'll be rewarded with over three million search results. Clearly there's quite a lot of debate going on out there as to whether the ten percent of people who are left handed are indeed more creative. So what's the answer? Does being born a lefty automatically mean you are most creative than your right handed peers. As with any argument, opinion differs as to whether that's the case. Let's take a look at two of these opposing views.

The Argument For: Dr. Searleman Says Yes

American scientist Dr. Alan Searleman from New York's St. Lawrence University enlisted 1,200 research participants for vocabulary, memory, and problem solving tasks. When presenting the finding of his study to the annual conference of the American Psychological Association, Searleman explained that left handed people had higher levels of "fluid" intelligence and enhanced vocabulary skills. He concluded that this may be why more lefties end up in so called creative professions such as art, writing, and music. Searleman also found that true left handed people were likely to boast IQs of more than 140, be twice as good at problem solving than their right handed counterparts, but on the flip side, were not so good when it came to remembering things.

The Argument Against: Professor Mike Nicholls Says No

Professor Mike Nicholls from Flinders University in Australia conducted a study of 5,000 five year olds which involved a comparison of school performances and talking to their teachers. In direct oppositions to Searleman's findings, Nicholls concluded that not only did lefties tend to perform worse than right handed people, their reduced cognitive abilities were similar to the challenges faced by those people who were born prematurely. While some argue that the participants in Nicholls study were too young to be evaluated properly, Nicholls himself is left handed, leading us to believe that he has nothing to gain by reporting untrue negative aspects of left handedness.

So Who's Right?

The debate concerning the superiority of left handed people over right handed people is likely to rage on. That's the thing with studies. One doctor will insist that their findings represent the very latest scientific discoveries, while another half way across the world will refute the previous research and insist that they have indeed discovered the truth. Could it be that the hand that is used has nothing to do with a person's abilities? Do any of those studies take into account a person's home life and background? After all, there are plenty of scientists and academics also clamouring to understand the effect of a child's upbringing on their later life.

Famous Lefties

One thing's for sure. The people on the following list would probably lean toward left handed people being an altogether more superior type of human being. That's not to say righties have to believe them though!

  • Barack Obama
  • David Cameron
  • Sir Paul McCartney
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Prince William
  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Robert De Niro
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Matt Groening
  • Spike Lee

To discover other famous lefties, check out the Guardian's list of 100 famous left handed people.


  1. Left handed presidents. So of the 43 presidents only seven were left handed.
    James A. Garfield (1881) 20th
    Herbert Hoover (1929-1933) 31st
    Harry S. Truman (1945-1953) 33rd
    Gerald Ford (1974-1977) 38th
    Ronald Reagan (1981 -1989) 40th (actually a right-handed writer)
    George H.W. Bush (1989-1993) 41st
    Bill Clinton (1993-2001) 42nd

  2. Barack Obama is also left-handed, so that makes eight. However, there is some doubt about Herbert Hoover. I have read that he wasn't really left-handed, but that he merely appears left-handed in a photo that was reversed when printed. On the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library website, there are pictures that show him writing with his right hand. More research may be needed.

  3. Nice article.Thank you so much for sharing this article.


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