Do right-handers live longer? An updated assessment of baseball player data.

Research paper by R A RA Hicks, C C Johnson, T T Cuevas, D D Deharo, J J Bautista

Indexed on: 01 Jun '94Published on: 01 Jun '94Published in: Perceptual and motor skills


In support of the argument that left-handedness is a marker for decreased survival fitness, in 1991 Coren and Halpern gave considerable weight to the results of their 1988 study in which right-handed baseball players were described as having lived about eight months longer than their left-handed peers. In their 1993 unsuccessful attempt to replicate this study, Fudin and colleagues cited certain difficulties with the sources of these data that led them to recommend a comprehensive third study which included only reliable data from the two current editions of the major sources of information on Major League baseball players, i.e., the 1993 editions of The Baseball Encyclopedia and Total Baseball. Following this suggestion, we measured the life spans of all baseball players, i.e., right-, left-, and mixed-handed players, for whom reliable data were available (N = 5441) and found that the relationship between handedness and longevity was not significant. Unlike Halpern and Coren we noted that right-handed players could be described as having lived about eight months less than their left-handed peers.