Does an individual have a 'better side'?

From: Experimental Brain Research

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Participants/situation

  • 37 participants (23 women and 14 men; age 18–22)

Study

  • Participants rated a selection of photographs, taken from both right and left side, in terms of attractiveness.
  • Pupil diameter was recorded during the presentation of the original image.

Results

  • The left side of the face is the most preferable for both male and female participants. More importantly, the left side of the face was preferred regardless of how it was presented (i.e. original orientation or mirror-reversed).
  • We found that pupil size was related to pleasantness of an image, such that pupils dilated more when an image was rated as more “pleasant”, but tended to constrict when images were rated as “unpleasant”. This was true for both female and male images

Answer

  • The left side of the face is the most preferable for both male and female participants.
  • There was a positive link between ratings and pupil size across all 80 images. 

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Editors Notes

  • Throughout six centuries of Western art, women have been painted primarily with their left cheek exposed, while men typically exposed their right cheek
  • Schirillo and Fox (2006) found that left-cheeked female portraits were judged most often as “approachable”, whereas left-cheeked male portraits were judged most often as “avoidable”.

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