Left is Best When it Comes to Basic Emotions

Many of us judge a person’s emotional state by their Facial Expressions.  Whether we do this consciously or not facial expressions of emotion are a big part of nonverbal communication.

The old idiom “Put your best Foot forward” might now apply to your face.  Soon we might be saying “Put your best Side forward“, according to new research, led by Kelsey Blackburn and James Schirillo from Wake Forest University.

Forbes.com reported on a their study that our left cheek shows a greater range of emotion than the right, which observers rate as more pleasing to the eye.

The study’s participants were asked to rate the pleasantness of both sides of male and female faces on gray-scale photographs.  Participants were shown both original photographs and mirror-reversed images, so that an original right-cheek image appeared to be a left-cheek image and vice versa.

An interesting fact is that the study, which is soon to be published in the Journal of Experimental Brain Research, found a strong preference for left-sided portraits, regardless of whether the pictures were originally taken of the left side or mirror-reversed. This preference was not gender specific either.

A good question to ask or clarify is, Are there real psychical differences between the left an right side of human faces or is it just our perception that makes the left side is the best side?

“Our results suggest that posers’ left cheeks tend to exhibit a greater intensity of emotion, which observers find more aesthetically pleasing. Our findings provide support for a number of concepts – the notions of lateralized emotion and right hemispheric dominance with the right side of the brain controlling the left side of the face during emotional expression,” stated researchers.

 What do you think of the study’s results? 

Do you have any questions that can be raised for future studies?


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