Left-side bias: Myth or Fact?

The left side of our face is more attractive — Myth or Fact? I say Fact.

I came across this ‘psychology fact’ while I was scrolling through Instagram and I wondered whether it was true. Do we all really like the left side of our faces (left hemiface) better than the right? I knew for a fact, that I preferred my left side over my right. But was that true for everyone?…

A photo of me, my mom and my sister (left to right). Thanks for the pic dad!

I remember, everytime my dad tried to take our photo, my sister, my mom and I, we all would always circle around each other trying to find a spot, on the far left of each other, that flatters our left side. It turns out that it might not be just the three of us.

Original orientation vs. mirror-reversed

Blackburn et al., (2012) found that people judged the left hemiface as more aesthetic and pleasing for both male and femal posers. Moreover, this was confirmed when the left hemiface was preferred regardless of how it was presented (i.e. original orientation or mirror-reversed). This is the left-side bias.

These preferences were also confirmed by measurements of the pupil size, an unconscious measurement method. This ensures the reliability of the measurement. When individuals are exposed to affective stimuli like nonverbal emotional expressions, their pupils increase in size as the stimuli is perceived. In this study, the participants’ pupils dilated more when they rated the poser’s hemiface as more aesthetic and pleasing.

If you would like to have an in-depth read about the above study, please refer to the link below: -

So, the next time you are trying to impress someone, let your left cheek shine! According to the paper mentioned above, our left cheek shows a greater range of emotions. This is more flattering to the human eye.

The researchers suggested that people’s left hemiface tends to exhibit a greater intensity of emotions, which is perceived as more flattering. Humans are social animals that use cues like facial expressions to perceive important contextual information during social interactions. This allows people to understand other people’s intentions and feelings in a social context in order to behave and react appropriately. This is why humans have to come to appreciate facial expressions at an unconscious level. This leads us to the right-hemisphere hypothesis that states that emotions are controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain. Each hemisphere is in charge of the opposite side of the body and therefore, the right hemisphere controls the left hemiface. So, the left side of the face exhibits emotional expressions with a greater intenisty and nuance which is perceived by us as more flattering. This is why we often perceive the left side of our face as more beautiful.

EDT and fMRI image representing emotion processing related brain activity

While I was doing my research for this blog, I came across this TikTok video that explains the left-side bias perfectly.

Nevertheless, both sides of your face are beautiful ❤

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Yashvi Gondalia

Yashvi Gondalia

Aspiring Clinical Psychologist. Learning about the World of Psychology by Researching and Sharing my Writing