Your Left Side Looks Best
Getting your picture taken? Turn your left side to the camera. A study published online in the journal Experimental Brain Researchreported that images of the left side of the face are perceived and rated as more pleasant than pictures of the right side of the face.
The researchers, Kelsey Blackburn and James Schirillo of Wake Forest University in North Carolina, posit that this preference stems from the fact that the right hemisphere of the brain has greater control over voluntary emotional expressions on the left side of the face. A Psychology Today article on the study added that "research has revealed that the left side of the face is more intense and active when expressing emotions."
The authors also note that Western artists' portraits almost always show the subjects' left profile. Think of the Mona Lisa, for example. The artists seem to have found the left side more attractive, whether they realized this consciously or not. "Our results suggest that posers' left cheeks tend to exhibit a greater intensity of emotion, which observers find more aesthetically pleasing," Blackburn and Schirillo wrote.
Here at ThirdAge, however, we couldn't help but wonder if left-handed people look better on the ride side, or whether they perceive others' attractiveness differently from right-handed people. A thorough search of the web didn't turn up an answer. Maybe we'll do a little experimenting of our own! In the meantime, though, we'll remember to show off the left side the next time someone is ready to snap a picture.