left handed person writing in notebook
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
January 9, 2024 ·  3 min read

Are Left-Handed People Truly Smarter Than Everyone Else?

Being left-handed often comes with a certain fascination and curiosity from both left-handed individuals themselves and right-handed people around them. One question that frequently arises in popular discourse is whether left-handed people are smarter than their right-handed counterparts. Let’s look into the research to answer this question and explore the unique aspects of left-handedness and the ongoing scientific quest to understand the origins and complexities of left-handedness.

Debunking the Myth: Are Left-Handed People Smarter Than Everyone Else?

Contrary to the popular notion, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that left-handed individuals are inherently smarter. Intelligence is a complex trait that cannot be attributed solely to handedness. Numerous factors, including genetics, environment, education, and individual characteristics, play crucial roles in determining intelligence. Handedness, on the other hand, is a preference for using one hand over the other, and it does not directly correlate with intellectual capabilities. (1)

Exploring the Prevalence of Left-Handedness

Left-handedness is relatively uncommon compared to right-handedness. Throughout history, left-handed people have confused and even frightened the majority right-handed public. For a long time, they were forced, often in rather harsh and even violent ways, to use their right. According to a survey conducted in 32 countries, approximately 9.5% of individuals reported using their left hand for writing. However, the prevalence of left-handedness varies across different populations and cultures. It is intriguing to note that humans are unique in their consistent preference for the right hand, as other animals show inconsistent preferences for particular limbs. (2)

Unraveling the Mystery of Left-Handedness

The origins of left-handedness continue to puzzle scientists. Various hypotheses have been proposed, but no definitive answer has been found. One theory suggests that genetic factors may influence left-handedness, as it runs in families. However, extensive genome-wide association studies have not identified a single gene responsible for hand preference. Multiple genetic, environmental, and developmental factors likely interact to determine handedness.

Read: Gifted Children: 23 Signs That You Have a Child Who Is Gifted

Challenges in Studying Left-Handedness

Researching left-handedness presents unique challenges. Surveys and questionnaires used to determine handedness often face limitations, such as outdated questions and the differentiation between preference and skill. Additionally, cultural and societal pressures have historically led individuals to switch their handedness, confusing the true prevalence of left-handedness. These challenges make it difficult to ascertain accurate statistics and understand the underlying biology of handedness.

Debunking Left-Handed Myths

Over the years, several myths surrounding left-handedness have pervaded popular culture. One persistent myth suggests that left-handed individuals have a shorter lifespan. However, a comprehensive study using the UK Biobank database has shown no significant difference in mortality rates between left-handed and right-handed individuals. It is crucial to challenge such unfounded claims and rely on scientific evidence when discussing left-handedness. 

Another is that left-handed people are smarter. You will find evidence that points to both yes they are more intelligent, no they are less intelligent,  and no, handedness has nothing to do with intelligence at all. A 2015 study done by researchers from The Netherlands combined the previous 30 studies to look at the results. This meant looking at a data group of more than half a million people. This study found that indeed, being left or right handed had no tell in how smart an individual is. There have been studies done that show that left-handed people actually more often than not fall into the lower IQ groups, while at the same time a host of impressive people in history have all been lefties. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, James Baldwin, Nikola Tesla, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, and Steve Jobs are reportedly all left handed. (3, 4)

Your Dominant Hand Does Determine Intelligence

The idea that left-handed people are smarter than their right-handed counterparts is simply a myth. Intelligence is a complex trait influenced by multiple factors, and handedness does not have a direct correlation with intellectual abilities. Left-handedness remains a fascinating phenomenon that continues to intrigue researchers, but its origins and complexities are yet to be fully understood. As we strive to unravel the mysteries of left-handedness, it is important to rely on scientific evidence and dispel unfounded claims surrounding this unique trait.

Keep Reading: 9 Common Things That are Tricky for Left Handers


  1. Are You Left-Handed? Science Still Yearns to Know Why.” McGill. Jonathan Jarry M.Sc. September 17, 2021.
  2. An international study of human handedness: The data.” Springer Link. May 1994
  3. Are left-handers smarter?Science Focus. Christian Jarrett.
  4. Are left-handed people smarter?.” Live Science. Randyn Bartholomew. September 20, 2021.