On an Odd Propensity

There have been 14 Presidents of the United States of America since World War 2. Of those 14, six of them share a common characteristic that is also shared by around only 10% of the population of the world. What could that be, and why have so many presidents in recent decades shared this propensity?

Psychologists have argued that one reason for the high incidence among presidents is that having this characteristic causes one to have a wider scope of thinking, making them if not more effective as presidents, at least it could help explain why they are at least attractive as candidates. People who are like this tend to face challenges better and share an “outside the box” thinking ability. They tend to be able to generate ideas given a certain set of parameters better than the rest of us. I say “us” because I don’t fall into this category.

On the other hand, some researchers say it’s all down to chance and that this particular propensity has nothing to do with electability.

I’ll even provide the list for you so you can maybe see or decide what these six men have in common: Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barak Obama. If you’re wondering, that three Republicans and three Democrats, so it’s not party affiliation. It’s something else these six men share.

Well, obviously we’re talking about a physical characteristic to a degree. And that’s what researchers find so interesting, because scientists simply don’t know what causes it. Some studies say that this trait is connected to the development of speech and language, but nothing has been conclusive. Statistically, the 10% and the 90% differ in intelligence tests scores by a whopping 1 point. Left to their own devices, they tend to take tests faster than the 90% as well.

Interestingly, it has shown up to a higher degree in people who are really good at math (another reason I’m not in this group). Low birth weights seem to contribute to the likelihood as well as problems during childbirth. Higher cancer and depression rates occur, but they have lower rates of ulcers, arthritis, and even bone brittleness. And, we have to hand it to them; many people who are in symphony orchestras have a higher chance to be this way as do many pro athletes (tennis and baseball players, mostly).

Give up? Some clues were dropped in this essay, so you should’ve guessed it by now. What do six of the last 14 presidents have in common?

They were left handed.


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