Which Side Is Your Good Side? Here Comes the Science

It turns out humans do have a preference, studies show: left is best.

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Whatever you do, accentuate that left cheek of yours: it is your best one. According to a scientific study, there no longer remains a question of which is your best side. Everyone, it seems, agrees that left is best.

Wake Forest University psychology professor Dr. James Schirillo and co-author Kelsey Blackburn published their findings in the journal Experimental Brain Research, stating that we humans prefer looking at the left side of a face, finding it more pleasant.

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The pair took photos of 10 male and 10 female faces, and created a series of originals and mirror images, so that a right cheek could be made to look like a left or the other way around. When asked, 37 male and female college students overwhelmingly favored the left side, and it didn’t matter whether the left side was the original or the mirrored version.

Researchers also noted that when rating the cheeks, test subjects had larger pupil sizes when looking at the left cheek compared to the right. A growing pupil signifies looking at a positive image.

“Our results suggest that posers’ left cheeks tend to exhibit a greater intensity of emotion, which observers find more aesthetically pleasing,” said the researchers in a statement. They added that this finding lends credence to the idea that the right side of the brain controls emotion, giving the left side of the face (which is also controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain) a bit more to work with.

It’s also a difference that painters have seemingly known about for centuries; historically, most portraits depict a person’s left side.

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3 comments
RosiePalmer
RosiePalmer

Its because most people are right handed and spend  their lives extending and using their right arm. Over use of the muscle pulls the right side of the face and neck down. They should try the experiment with left handers and see if it remains true.


ChristinaElliott
ChristinaElliott

Oh what bull. A sample size of 37 people? What, were they in line at the university Subway...?

OutOfTimeMan
OutOfTimeMan

Ive got a feeling that this may be related to people from western societies being used to reading things from left to right. so it follows that we may judge an aesthetically pleasing image (whether it be a face or any input through the visual cortex) in a better light if it follows the usual way we are used to input being processed. It would be interesting to do the same experiment in japan or any other culture that is used to reading or viewing an image from the opposite direction to see whether there is any sort of preference bias skewing results