Today in Research: Left-Handed People and IQ; a Loss for Black Tea

Discovered: diamond planets, crocodiles and nuclear plants, a psychedelic revival, and the random facts about the left-handed.

  • Left-handed or right-handedness doesn't affect IQ, so stop. We didn't know that there was a stereotype about lefties or righties being smarter than the other (still can't figure out which one was supposedly smarter), but today The Wall Street Journal sets everyone straight and clears up other misconceptions. And also unloads a whole bunch of research-linked finds: "lefties aren't more accident prone than right-handed people and don't tend to die at a younger age." OK. "Left-handed people earn on average 10 percent lower salaries than righties, according to a recent [Harvard] study." Hmm, OK. And "[l]eft-handedness appears to be associated with a greater risk for a number of psychiatric and developmental disorders." But: Even though lefties make up only a small portion of the population, "Six of the last 12 U.S. presidents" were left-handed. [The Wall Street Journal]
  • A win for European chewing-gum and loss for a European black tea. This is just one advertising claim that we still get confused about: Is there anything "good for your teeth" about certain types of chewing gum? Reuters and The Telegraph had the unenviable job of sifting through which health claims that made the grade according to the European Food Safety Authority and -- it turns out that "that sugar-free chewing gum can help neutralize plaque acids." Excellent, for European chewing-gum enthusiasts, that is. One of the rejected health claims? "Black tea helps to focus the attention." Not true. But what about all the other branded teas? We've always suspected those "helpful for sleeping" brands. [Reuters, The Telegraph]

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

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