Do You Hug To The Right?
Initiating hugs and kisses can be a little confusing sometimes. Do you lean to the right? Do you hug to the left? What if both people go to the same side at the same time?
What if the person you want to hug grew up in a different culture? Oh, the awkwardness…
In all psychobiological seriousness
A review article published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews finds that people prefer to kiss and hug on one side. The lead authors of the review, Associate Professor Sebastian Ocklenburg and Julian Packheiser from the Department of Biopsychology in Ruhr-Universität Bochum find that right-or left-handedness is not sufficient to explain people’s lateral preferences in social situations. They suggest that emotions also play a role.
The researchers analyzed the emotional context of approximately 1,000 hugs at a German international airport. While hugs observed in departures would entail a negative emotional context, those in arrivals would signal a more positive context, according to the researchers.
Neutral hugs were analyzed by watching video clips of blindfolded actors giving hugs to strangers on the street.
Which side do people generally prefer? According to Ocklenburg and colleagues, people tend to go for the right side when hugging someone in a neutral situation. In theory, handedness affects which side people initiate hugs or kisses from. However, there is more to the story when it comes to emotional contexts.
The left shift
Why do some people hug to the left? The researchers found that people’s lateral preference shifts to the left in emotional vs. neutral contexts.
At the airport, the researchers observed that people prefer to hug from the left side when there are emotions involved – when saying goodbye to a loved one, for example.
The research team speculates that the left shift happens due to interactions between motor and emotional networks in the brain. As previous research shows, emotion processing takes place in the brain’s right hemisphere. Thus, hugging to the left makes sense when emotions are involved.
Which side do you hug?
- 1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181029104622.htm
- 2. https://lifestyle.inquirer.net/285421/feeling-positive-then-youll-probably-hug-someone-from-the-left-says-study/