You really do have a more attractive side, and a new study just digs deeper into the reasons why. Previous studies have shown that there is actually a preference for the left side as it appears to exhibit more emotion.
Researchers at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, set out to find whether it’s the actual configuration of our facial features that matter or just the features of the left cheek that makes it appear more expressive. For the very small study, 81 people assessed two sets of images to determine which appeared happier, reports PsyPost. One set showed faces as they appeared while the other scrambled features.
They found that people preferred the left cheek in both instances, which means that featural cues of the left cheek were enough to determine emotion.There was a stronger preference, however, for the left side of the face in those that weren’t scrambled.
“As scrambling faces disrupts configural processing, the fact that the left cheek was perceived as more expressive even when scrambled confirms that differences between the cheeks’ featural information are sufficient to induce the left cheek bias,” the authors write in the paper.
Sam Kean, author of The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, told the newspaper that most people naturally believe their left side is superior. “The best explanation is that we don’t view the left and right halves of people’s faces in the exact same way,” he told the paper. “People have a tendency to be more expressive with one half of the face than the other half because our brains don’t quite work the same on the left side and the right side”