BU Students Relate Earlier Death Rates for Left-Handed People to Mechanical Bias

Several students from Boston University (BU) responded to a New England Journal of Medicine published-study that compared rates of deaths and accidents among 1,000 right and left-handed people, comparing the study’s findings to what they believed to be a systematic bias to right-handed people.

Dr. Diane Halpern, a professor of psychology at California State University, and Dr. Stanley Coren, a researcher at the University of British Colombia, conducted the 2016 study, assessing death certificates and ultimately finding that left-handed people were more likely to die earlier.

Along with discovering that very few left-handed people existed among the elderly population, the researches also found that right-handed women typically lived six years longer than left-handed women, and that right-handed men typically lived 11 years longer than their left-handed counterparts.

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

Halpern also commented on the environmental differences between left and right-handed people.

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

Several BU students offered their perspectives on the study, stating that its findings were the product of a systematic favoritism to right-handed people.

Grace Yang, 20, right-handed, asserted that the study’s results were logical, given that many machines are strictly designed for right-handed individuals.

“The way we do things is only catering to right-handed people, so left-handed people are already at a disadvantage when they’re going to do something,” said Grace.

Melissa Wong, 19, left-handed, found the study’s discoveries to be disturbing, but later added that there was not enough evidence to develop a solid conclusion.

“As a left-handed person, that’s just sad news. It makes me seem like I’m more likely to die compared to my right-handed counterpart,” said Melissa.

Allie Caton, 22, right-handed, said that the study’s results seemed reasonable since many machines and systems are designed to specifically accommodate right-handed people.

“Maybe there’s like weird accidents that happen because certain machines favor right-handed people,” Allie said.

Jhonatan Perea, 20, right-handed, said that despite the study’s findings, his lifestyle would ultimately be the determining factor of his death.

“I’m definitely still going to die earlier than the average male because I eat so much unhealthy food,” Perea said.



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