While it has for long been thought that left-handed people die young, a study of films from Victorian England challenged the modern day myth. More than a million people, aged 10 to 86, were surveyed in 1992, and the analysis of the data thus gathered showed that the proportion of left-handedness was lower in the elderly than in the young.
In the latest study, Chris McManus and Alex Hartigan of University College London used documentary films made in northern England between 1897 and 1913.
Whichever arm people would wave in the films was taken as a sign of their dominant hand by the researchers, reports New Scientist.
Upon judging the ages of the people in the films, the research duo found that individuals born within a decade of 1900 actually showed a lower proportion of left-handedness than that found in a modern control group.
McManus believes that most of the left-handed people might have switched their dominant hands as a result of industrialisation, as factories are generally designed for the right-handed people.
The researcher also feels that the advent of universal schooling may have emphasised the stigmatisation of left-handers, pressurising them to switch dominant hands.