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Why are some people Ambidextrous?

Studies show that only 10% of the global population is left-handed. Ambidexterity is even rarer. If you can write equally well with both hands – congratulations – you are part of the 1%!

There are many different ways in which people use their hands. Many are right hand dominant; some are left. Some can use both hands but for different tasks, called mixed handiness. But very few are ambidextrous. This means being able to use both hands equally, be it for writing or building,

What’s going on in their head?

Evidence has shown that right-handed people have a dominant left hemisphere of the brain. Whereas, with left-handed people, the right hemisphere of the brain is more dominant. With ambidextrous people, neither hemisphere is dominant (Live Science). In fact, their hemispheres are almost symmetrical, a trait almost shared by the lefty.

The relationship between the left and right hemispheres of the brains for left-handed people and ambidextrous people seem more balance, whereas right-handed people show a clear dominance of the left hemisphere (Mental Floss).

Ambidextrous people are multi-talented

It’s true: some of the greatest minds, sportsmen and musicians of our time have been ambidextrous. These numbers include Harry Houdini, Leonardo da Vinci and Benjamin Franklin (The Guardian). Ambidexterity is highly praised in baseball, as the player can perform a ‘switch hit’ and bat from either side, giving him a great advantage. It would also be a big leg-up in martial arts and combat sports.

Leonardo Da Vinci in Da Vinci's Demons is even depicted as ambidextrous. Credit: Brain Jet.
Leonardo Da Vinci in Da Vinci’s Demons is even depicted as ambidextrous. Credit: Brain Jet.

One of the greatest music legends of the time, Jimi Hendrix, was also almost fully ambidextrous. Although it would be correct to say ‘mixed-handed’. Many believe this was his secret to rock star success. Ambidexterity is also useful in the medical world for surgeons, such as Marco Abbondanza.

Although there are many physical benefits to being ambidextrous, mix-handed people are more likely to possess the LRRTM1 gene (on chromosome 2), which is linked to schizophrenia (The Telegraph). There are also certain learning difficulties associated with ambidexterity, such as languages, and young students are often ADHD.

Yet, many have overcome these challenges and have gone on to thrive in the world in a range of fields, including sports, music, arts and academia. In reality, ambidexterity puts you at a bit of an advantage over your peers – so be proud!

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