Why are there more right-handed people than left-handed people?

In this article, we will analyze the wrestling hypothesis that talks about left-handedness, struggle and survival, and we will turn to the most recent empirical evidence that explains why there are more right-handed people than left-handed people according to an interesting research axis.

    Left handed, right handed and ambidextrous

    Left-handed people are those who tend to prefer using the left side of their body (i.e. hands and feet).

    The left-hander is a minority phenotype in the human species; that is, there are more right-handed people (who preferably use the right limbs) than left-handed people.

    In fact, between 8 and 13% of the world’s population is left-handed; on the other hand, there are more men on the left than women on the left (13% versus 9%), although it is not known why. Finally, it should be mentioned that people who use the right and left limbs indiscriminately are called ambidextrous.

    Why there are more right-handed people than left-handed people, study finds

    As we go through the introduction, this article focuses on the fact that there are a lot more people who have the right hand as their dominant hand. Why are there more right-handed people than left-handed people? But before we delve into this question, let’s clarify why there are leftists in the population, according to the hypothesis of the struggle.

    According to this hypothesis, there are leftists in the population because in the past, lefties had an advantage in violent intrasexual competition. This, according to this hypothesis, would explain why the left-hander persisted over time.

    Hypothesis of the struggle

    But what exactly does the hypothesis of the left struggle say?

    According to this hypothesis, there is a polymorphism (polymorphism implies the existence, in a population, of multiple alleles of a gene) in humans, which it is maintained over time thanks to a process of natural selection; in the case of left-handers, this process is frequency-dependent selection.

    What does it mean? That when a trait offers a certain biological efficacy to a particular species (increasing its probability of survival), that trait remains, even if it is a minority (like the left-hander).

    How is this extrapolated to the realm of wrestling and the left-hander? Right-handed fighters are also used to fighting other right-handed fighters; therefore, when competing against a left-handed fighter, the latter will have some advantage in the fight (and therefore is more likely to win), as the left-handed fighter is more accustomed to fighting a right-handed than the right-handed. -handed against a left-hander.

      Empirical evidence: study

      We find different studies showing how left-handed men are over-represented among modern professional wrestlers. A recent (2019) study by Richardson and Gilman also raised the question of why there are more right-handed than left-handed people and focuses on the world of boxing and wrestling.


      This study involved a total of 13,800 boxers and fighters of different martial arts, mixed type.

      In other words, the sample included both men and women. However, of the total number of boxers, 10,445 were male (8,666 right-handed and 1,779 left-handed), 1,314 were female (1,150 right-handed and 164 left-handed) and 2,100 were MMA (mixed martial arts) fighters (1,770 right-handed and 393 left-handed) .

      Through this data, we see how left-handed men make up 12.6% of the general population, 17% of men in the boxing world and 18.7% in the MMA industry; in the case of women, they represent 9.9% of the general population and 12.5% ​​of boxers. We see how, in both cases, the left-hander is over-represented in the wrestling world.

      Objectives of the study

      The study sought to verify two aspects; on the one hand, whether or not there is an over-representation of fighters on the left compared to the right, and on the other hand, if they accumulate more victories than the right.


      The results of Richardson and Gilman’s study revealed that indeed, left-handed boxers and wrestlers had more wins (number of fights won) than right-handed people. This was reflected in both male and female wrestlers.

      In addition, the combatants’ combat capacity was also assessed, by objective measurement, and the results were in the same line; left-handed people had better fighting ability than right-handed people.

      Another hypothesis that was raised and analyzed in the aforementioned study, is another already suggested by previous studies, and was as follows: the fact that the fighters on the left exhibit a greater variation in combat capability. This hypothesis could not be confirmed, as this variation was not observed in left-handed fighters.


      As we have seen, by analyzing the question of why there are more righties than leftists, we come to the following conclusion: the fact that leftists are a minority (which is why they are overrepresented), this makes their actions and techniques more difficult for their rivals to predict.

      This can be explained by the tendency of right-handed rivals to deal primarily with their opponent’s right hand (this is an attentional bias), and this tendency would appear because right-handed rivals would be accustomed (by generally competing with right-handed people). handed rivals). to deal with this hand.

      Hypothesis verification

      So, what is happening now in the field of wrestling and boxing, we can extrapolate to our ancestors; This way, it is likely that our left ancestors, as the wrestling hypothesis suggests, had some advantage in violent combat (these being moreover more frequent in the past than in the present), which confers them a certain evolutionary advantage.

      In this way, we see how the hypothesis of wrestling would materialize, since being left-handed or left-handed implies an advantage in this type of sport.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Bejarano, MA & Naranjo, J. (2014) Laterality and sports performance. Arch Med Esport, 31 (3), 200-204.
      • Hardyck, C. and Petrinovich, LF (1977). On the left, Bulletin psychologique, 84, 385-404.
      • Richardson, T. and Gilman, RT (2019). The left is associated with greater combat success in humans. Sci Rep 9, 15402.

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