Science Focus - the home of BBC Science Focus Magazine
Are left-handers smarter? © Getty Images

Are left-handers smarter?

Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine and get 6 issues for just £9.99

Right-handers rejoice, handedness may affect intelligence.

Asked by: Praneeth Vitharana, Sri Lanka


The idea that left-handed people are more intelligent than right-handers is a myth.

There have been lefty geniuses in history like Leonardo da Vinci, but this is not part of a larger pattern. If anything, the opposite is true.

In 2015 Dutch researchers combined the results from over 30 previous studies involving over half a million people and found no link between handedness and verbal ability and a small advantage for right-handers in terms of spatial ability.

Another recent study based on data from tens of thousands of people actually found that left-handedness was more common among people with very low IQ than among people with typical IQ.


Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.


Dr Christian Jarrett is a cognitive neuroscientist, science writer and author. He is the Deputy Editor of Psyche, the sister magazine to Aeon that illuminates the human condition through psychology, philosophy and the arts. Jarrett also created the British Psychological Society's Research Digest blog and was the first ever staff journalist on the Society's magazine, The Psychologist. He is author of Great Myths of The Brain and Be Who You Want: Unlocking the Science of Personality Change.


Sponsored content