We’re Biased By Our Body’s Dominant Side

A new study shows that right-handed and left-handed people make different choices

Photo: Chris@APL

A new study shows that right-handed and left-handed people make different choices. We tend to favor people or objects on our dominant side, meaning that our bodies influence our thinking and perception of the world.

Scientific American reports on the findings:

Casasanto found that right-handers associate right with good and left with bad and that left-handers make the reverse associations. People prefer objects, job candidates and images of alien creatures on their dominant side to those on their nondominant side. In 2010 he reported that presidential candidates (Kerry, Bush, Obama and McCain) gesture with their dominant hands when making positive points and their weak hands to emphasize darker matters. And he has collected data to suggest that lefties hold higher opinions of their flight attendants when seated on the right side of a plane.

Children as young as six display this handedness bias. Kids were given a series of animal photos and asked which looked smarter or nicer. Inevitably, the right-handed kids picked the animals on the right, while the left-handed kids opted for the oposite.

The researchers conclude that we are all likely influenced by our handedness in various ways in our day-to-day interactions and decision making,  meaning that something as seemingly trivial as our body’s orientation is subconsciously shaping our judgements in ways we never suspected.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Is My Cat Right or Left Handed?  

The Bias Detective 

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