Being left-handed, I'm keenly aware when something isn't friendly to the 10 per cent, so to speak. Fortunately, it's not so bad these days, but when faced with scissors, old can-openers and even writing with a pen, you're reminded that your view of the world is a bit different. But does that difference provide any advantages? Sport, for example, is one area that comes up in these discussions.
A new study by Florian Loffing at the University of Kassel's Institute of Sports and Sports Sciences in Germany suggests left-handers may have an edge in sports with high time pressure. At the very least, left-handers are more common in such sports, including baseball and table tennis and are even over-represented at elite levels.
One common theory put forward is that right-handers aren't used to playing against left-handers, while the opposite is true for lefties, so sports with high time pressures provide right-handers with less time to adapt.
However, rather than providing lefties with a benefit, the over-representation could work against them, as Loffing explains:
This indicates that relative rarity and the interactive nature of a contest are not sufficient per se to evoke a left-hander advantage. Refining the fighting hypothesis is suggested to facilitate prediction and experimental verification of when and why negative frequency-dependent selection may benefit left-handedness.
The research provides a good starting point for further experimentation, as Loffing concludes, but in the meantime left-handers might want to stick with table tennis... unless everyone at your local club is left-handed too.
Left-handedness and time pressure in elite interactive ball games [The Royal Society]