Left-Handers Continue to Rule the World

Because I am not left-handed, I have never taken much pleasure in the endless parade of studies, articles, and anecdotes about how left-handed people are better at everything than right-handed people. But that doesn’t mean the studies stop coming; here’s the latest, by the economists Christopher S. Ruebeck, Joseph E. Harrington, and Robert Moffitt. At least we righties can console ourselves with the knowledge that lefties still have a hard time finding a good pair of scissors.

Tall people, too, can continue to feel good about themselves — although as this paper by Anne Case and Christina Paxson argues, the relative success of tall people isn’t due to self-esteem or anything like that. It comes from the simple fact that, as Case and Paxson write, “taller people earn more because they are smarter.”


savetheclocktower

The study by Ruebeck et al. explains how left-handed men earn more than their right-handed colleagues *among those who have attended college.* In other words, they're chopping off the bottom half of the curve.

There's a flatter bell curve for left-handed people when it comes to intelligence — we're more likely to be intelligent, but we're also more likely to have learning disorders — among them dyslexia, child autism, and ADD, three conditions which can inhibit one's ability to earn a paycheck.

So it's not that we're smarter — we're just weirder.

John Fembup

When I was very young, I realized that I would have to be tall to become successful. So I did.

hueyproductions

"I realized that I would have to be tall to become successful. So I did."

So you did what, exactly? Is this an argument for or against taller people being smarter?

ElSordo

It's an argument for eating your vegetables

Brett Astor

Wow. I'll revamp my marketing positioning to tell everyone how we're a radio agency full of tall left-handers. Or even better, we'll pick as clients only companies full of tall left handers.

toml

It's obvious. Knowing that tall people earn more money, you'd be stupid not to grow.

chrisbryan

I'm sorry that i have to say this, but these comments appear to have been written by short people.

acliff

In many Oriental cultures, Korea certainly, it was/is seen as unlucky to be left handed, writing Korean is quite challenging if you're left handed. Having rather pushy parents, I was taught (read forced) to be right handed.

So what happens to people like myself who have a left handed brain, but play football (soccer to you American types) and write with my right hand? More curious is that I throw with my left, and left foot dominant in martial arts kicking, and play tennis with both.

The real benefit I see from this is that I can use scissors and kitchen utensils without being a liability.

David Johnston

Apparently it requires being more than 3 inches shorter than the average male (with a college degree) to offset the advantage of being left-handed...just to give an idea of the magnitude of the effects.

slmdesel

Do any of you guys know my friend, Aaron? He's pretty tall, probably like 9 feet. Mostly retarded. Not even kidding. He can barely figure out how to use a light switch.

LeftHandersClub

I was a big fan of the Freaknomics book and am also left-handed (and 6ft tall). Not so difficult to find left-handed scissors (and loads of other left handed stuff) now! You can get them at http://www.anythingleft-handed.co.uk and there is also a good video there on why you need them.

Jamie.h.

... OK. I get it, the fascination with tall and left-handed people is simple. Neither is common. And well, being different is a good thing these days. Hate all that 'left hand' propaganda? Spend a day using your left hand dominantly if you prefer your right hand. And lefties, let's give them a break. Complain about what really matters: a lack of left-handed tools and leftie friendly stuff. Like left handed surgeons' equipment for trainees. I mean, come on! How do we save lives if we have to spend the first few minutes figuring out how to hold the tool!

southpaw-giant

haha i love this post - i'm left handed and 6'5 so theoretically i should be a multi-millionaire by now

Kristin

I was in charge of Student Government and Co ran school by 9th Grade and was the best student in over 2 counties during testing. Your point here? The taller people were the more awkward and quiet that I remember. I was a big time swimmer in childhood and had no time to over eat. I'm 5'0 and have a 150 I.Q. My brother has a 148 and he's 5'8? and my mother has a whopping 178! Wow and she's only 5'2?!

passer

well i guess i'm a leftie (even though i write with my right hand because of my mother) and i have to say that i'm far more introverted and, to a certain extent, have autistic like behaviour? when i was a kid. I'm perfectly fine now but i guess left handed people think differently that's all.

savetheclocktower

The study by Ruebeck et al. explains how left-handed men earn more than their right-handed colleagues *among those who have attended college.* In other words, they're chopping off the bottom half of the curve.

There's a flatter bell curve for left-handed people when it comes to intelligence - we're more likely to be intelligent, but we're also more likely to have learning disorders - among them dyslexia, child autism, and ADD, three conditions which can inhibit one's ability to earn a paycheck.

So it's not that we're smarter - we're just weirder.

John Fembup

When I was very young, I realized that I would have to be tall to become successful. So I did.

hueyproductions

"I realized that I would have to be tall to become successful. So I did."

So you did what, exactly? Is this an argument for or against taller people being smarter?

ElSordo

It's an argument for eating your vegetables

Brett Astor

Wow. I'll revamp my marketing positioning to tell everyone how we're a radio agency full of tall left-handers. Or even better, we'll pick as clients only companies full of tall left handers.