Don’t underestimate how your physical being may influence your behaviour or the choices you make. A recent article on the MSNBC.com site reveals how intimately connected are the body and the mind.
One of the ways in which an individual’s orientation to the world is affected is through “handedness”, i.e., whether a person is right-handed or left-handed. While the choice may seem arbitrary, the MSNBC piece cites a recent research review of several studies that looked at how being a righty or lefty influences decision-making.
Lead author Daniel Casasanto, a cognitive scientist at the New School for Social Research in New York, sees the area as a firm starting point for examining how our physical limitations influence our point of view.
Said Casantao: “Handedness is a good tool (to use) because it’s easily measurable, and our hands our important in how we interact with the physical world.”
The results offer a few interesting revelations to consider. For example, studies suggest that right-handed people tend to direct their gaze toward the right when looking at objects and images—even people— while lefties naturally tend to look to the left side.
What’s more interesting about that natural tendency is how the righties and lefties automatically perceive the value of the items on their favoured sides as being positive. For example, when asked to choose between “which of two products to buy, or which of two job applicants to hire,” righties preferred the product or person on the right while lefties preferred those on the left.
Retailers who want to woo consumers may find the information helpful when it comes to product placement while consumers may want to look to their non-dominant side to see what they’re missing (if not to make retailers’ jobs more challenging). Job applicants might want to consider finding out the handedness of their prospective employers before they send out their resume or take a seat in the office too.
The article didn’t address how being ambidextrous influences perception. Though one UK study (via Science Daily) has suggested that it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, finding that children who are mixed-handed, or ambidextrous, are more likely to have mental health, language and scholastic problems in childhood than right- or left-handed children.