According to a new study, your chances of having better verbal skills are very high if you are left-handed.
Before diving into the investigation,conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford, it is important to understand how the left side of the brain differs from the right side. The right side is more intuitive, creative, and emotional. Meanwhile, the left side performs more logical tasks.
“Each function, behaviour, cognition, mood, somatic sensation, all of that, requires multiple areas of the brain to work as a network,” Paul Mattis, a neuropsychologist at Northwell Health’s Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Manhasset, New York, told a news portal. Adding,“This connectivity is what allows a behaviour, action, or thought to occur and exist. If you lose this connectivity between areas, things don’t work as efficiently, or functions are lost."
For the study, the team examined the DNA of close to400,000 people from the UK Biobank. “Thanks to the amazing resource that is the UK Biobank, it is the first time that left-handedness has been shown to be driven by the complex interplay of many genes that contribute to brain organization, particularly in the regions dedicated to language,” Professor Gwenaëlle Douaud, PhD, joint senior author of the study and fellow at Oxford University’s Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, told a news portal.
Researches focused on four regions of the brain that is linked with handedness. “We were surprised to find that three of our four genetic variants associated with handedness were actually related to genes that play an active role in brain development and organization,” Douaud told a news portal. Adding, “These genes were associated with what we call the cytoskeleton, or the cells scaffolding, which helps guide the construction and functioning of the cells in the body.”
The team then studied brain imaging from thousands of people to detect differences in the cytoskeleton linked with handedness. Essentially what they discovered was that the left and right sides of the brain work more effectively together in left-handed people, which helps them to be better at language and verbal skills. “Language tends to be primarily associated with the left hemisphere and in the right-handers, the researchers showed the typical association with the left hemisphere, the language-dominant hemisphere,” Mattis told a news portal. Adding, “Whereas the left-handers showed a greater connection between the language areas in the left hemisphere and the analogous areas in the right hemisphere, which typically isn’t the side associated with language.”
While the findings are fascinating, it gives rise to more questions. “We need to assess whether this higher coordination of the language areas between left and right sides of the brain in the left-handers actually give them an advantage at verbal ability,” Douaud told a news portal. Adding, “For this, we need to do a study that also has in-depth and detailed verbal ability testing.”
The study's findings were originally published in the journal Brain.
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