I was watching President Obama sign a few executive orders this week, and noticed that he was left-handed.  And then upon further research, some 5 out of the last 7 U.S. Presidents were lefties including Ford, Reagan, Father Bush, Clinton, Obama.  The prevalence of left-handed people in the U.S. population hovers around 7 to 10 percent; so it is unique in a sense that more than 1/2 of the presidents in the last century have been left-handed.  The cause of left-handedness can range from high levels of testosterone during pregnancy, genetics, and/or learned preference by observing which hand the child uses most often during infancy.  In a historical sense, lefties were frowned upon by society, and were subjected to ridicule and hardships; currently in today’s society, most tools and products are oriented for a right-handed world.   It has been well documented that in the early 20th century, many schools discouraged children from writing with their left hand; this may have lead to detrimental learning affects on the child’s development.

In terms of intelligence, a study out of the University College London argues that the proportion of left-handed people as a group have historically produced an above-average quota of high achievers.   Chris McManus argues that left-handers’ brains are structured differently in a way that widens their range of abilities, and the genes that determine left-handedness also govern development of the language centres of the brain(1).  This may explain why a good amount of academic achievers, entertainers, politicians, are left-handed, such as:

 Music and Entertainment

Angelina Jolie, movie star
Jerry Seinfeld, comedian
Paul McCartney, musician
Jimi Hendrix, guitar player
Ringo Starr, musician
George Burns, comedian
James Cameron, Hollywood bigshot
Drew Carey, comedian
Tina Fey, writer, performer, producer
Steve Harvey, comedian

Art, Science, Technology

Leonardo da Vinci, genius of the Renaissance
Matt Groening, The Simpsons cartoonist
Benjamin Franklin, inventor
Marie Curie, physicist
Linus Pauling, biochemist
Bill Gates, businessman


 (1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-handedness#cite_note-33

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