Your Face's Better Half

Scientists Determine Which Side of Your Face is Your “Good Side”

You’re not the only one who spends time staring at yourself trying to figure out which side of your face is better looking. A bunch of scientists do it too, and they’ve done you the favor of spending time and money to figure out that it’s the left side of your face that’s most likely your better side. And, no, left-handers, this doesn’t have anything to do with your superiority.  

In the study, participants rated the appeal of black and white photographs of both sides of male and female faces. In certain photos, the left side had been mirror reflected so as to appear to be the right side of the face. Even in this instance, viewers selected what was the actual left side as most attractive, and for both male and female subjects. 

It turns out that the left side of the face registers more emotion than does the right side (this has to do with where we process emotion in our brains)—and one study has shown that for this reason observers may find the left side more aesthetically pleasing. Don’t let any guys know that they find emotion more pleasing. There’ll be a mutiny.  

In addition to surveying the participants to determine which side of the face they found more appealing, the researchers also used another method to determine which side of the face participants more positively responded to—they measured participants’ pupil sizes. Our pupils dilate in response to interesting or pleasant stimuli, and get smaller when looking upon less appealing things (where have we heard this before?) The participants’ dilating pupils confirmed their votes: left sides were consistently found to be most attractive.

While there’s not a lot we can do about the poor right side of our face being less dynamic, we can at least remember to lead with the right cheek when we’re giving someone a serious “don’t gimme no crap” kind of look.  


Source: Blackburn K & Schirilllo (2012). Your left side is your best side EurekaAlert.  Retrieved from http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-04/s-yls042012.php
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