New Study Finds Alarming Statistics for Left-Handed People

JO250 Week 2 Homework: Ch. 2 Exercise 1

New Study Finds Alarming Statistics for Left-Handed People

A study conducted last year by a psychology professor and researcher concluded that right-handed people tend to live about nine years longer than left-handed people.

(Suggestion for visual presentation: chart representing the staggering findings of the study. Facts to be repeated: 1) right-handed people die around age 75 while left-handed people die around 66 2) left-handed women die around age 72, while right-handed women die around 78 3) left-handed men die around 62, while right-handed men die about 73)

Diane Halpern, professor at California State University at San Bernardino, and Stanley Coren, researcher at the University of British Columbia, undertook the study with the purpose of determining why there are fewer members of the elderly population that are left-handed.

The main point discovered by the study, which was reported in today’s edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, was that the average age of death for left-handed people, who only represent 10 percent of the population, is 66 while the average age of death for right-handed people is 75.

“The results are striking in their magnitude,” right-handed Halpern said.

The average age of death discrepancy is much worse for men. Left-handed women die around age 72, while right-handed women die around age 78. Shockingly left-handed men die around age 62, while their counterparts live about 11 more years.

This data should be viewed cautiously, though, as the study is a general estimate based upon the death certificates of 987 people in two Southern California counties. It does not represent the entire population.

“It should not, of course, be used to predict the life span of any one individual,” Halpern said. “It does not take into account the fitness of any individual.”

The study also concluded that left-handed people were four times more likely to die from injuries while driving than right-handers and six times more likely to die from accidents of any kind.

“Almost all engineering is geared to the right hand and right foot,” Halpern said. “There are many more car and other accidents among left-handers because of their environment.”

Halpern was quick to note than left-handed people should not be overly alarmed.

“Some of my best friends are left-handed,” she said. “It’s important that mothers of left-handed children not be alarmed and not try to change which hand a child uses. There are many, many old left-handed people.”

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