Daniel Casasanto, a psychologist at the New School for Social Research, began to wonder: “If our bodes shape our thinking, do people with different bodies think differently?”
His paper, published in 2009, confirmed that right-handers associated good with what was presented to their right and bad with what was presented on their left. People, objects, even images of alien creatures are imbued with more positive association’s when presented on the viewers right and, naturally, the opposite is experienced when presented on the viewers left. Moreover, having more intelligence, being persuasive and being interviewed is heightened when situated on the right side of the viewer.
Interestingly, a study of the 2010 of the presidential candidates revealed that they used their dominant hand to gesture a positive point and their non-dominant hand when discussing darker matters. Thus, revealing attitudes can be observed, if you know the hand dominance of the speaker.
Obviously, this has great implications for those of us dedicated to studying and shaping the built environment. To deepen this point, Casasanto developed a study to discern if this bias is purely genetic. In a 2011 study he had subjects manipulate dominoes when wearing a bulky ski glove on their dominant hand. The results suggested that when we can interact with the world in a fluent way we are more likely to look kindly on it.
Thus, when shaping a person’s personal space, it is imperative to not only know their handed-ness, but to create a interference free connection between that side and those tasks, people, and attitudes we want to promote.