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Left-handed people 'make better decisions'

08 February 12 11:33
President Obama writing

Being left-handed could make you a better decision maker than a right-handed person, according to research.

Scientists said there was evidence left-handed people were more likely to take their time over unfamiliar tasks and think through the consequences.

It is thought this is because many objects and activities in daily life are designed for right-handed people - forcing the left-hander to think more.

Researchers at Abertay University said this led to increased "state anxiety".

Behavioural psychologist Dr Scott Hardie said: "Previously it has been believed that left-handed people are more anxious in general. What we believe is that it is the 'state anxiety' as opposed to 'trait anxiety' that differs between left-handers and right-handers.

"This means that it's the reaction to the here and now, a current situation rather than an individual's general disposition."

One in 10 people are thought to be left-handed and famous left-handers include US President Barack Obama, Leonardo Da Vinci, Jimi Hendrix and Albert Einstein.

The study at Abertay University in Dundee used 100 people - 50 left-handers and 50 right-handers - who were asked to complete a task on a computer.

The researchers said they were not sure whether the increased "state anxiety" was caused by a motivation of trying to get it right, or the fear of getting something wrong.

Dr Lynn Wright, who also conducted the study, said: "Up until recent years, when a left-handed person was learning to write, they were discouraged from using their left hand and forced to switch to their right, often to their detriment.

"There are also a great number of objects or activities in daily life that are designed for right-handed people, which can be disconcerting for left-handers, such as can openers, scissors, notepads, right-sided writing desks, guitars and other musical instruments.

"Because of this many left-handers are used to having to think before they act and perhaps to second guess what feels natural."

Dr Wright said she did not believe that being left-handed caused individuals to live in a "constant state of anxiety" - but could mean they made a better evaluation of options and outcomes.

She added: "We feel that left-handers' 'inhibition' is a manifestation of the old idiom 'look before you leap' and may in many cases be a better strategy than the alternative 'fools rush in'."

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