The Right Ear Has Priority over the Left

The conclusion belongs to an Italian study

According to a new scientific study carried out in Italy, people are more likely to answer favorably to demands if they hear more of the question with their right ear than the left one. The team behind the new investigation says that the cause for this is the fact that the areas inside the brain hemispheres that deal with hearing process sounds coming from each ear differently. The phenomenon, known as hemispheric asymmetry, is very little understood, and the international scientific community is currently taking a deep interest in it.

For the new research, Psychologists Daniele Marzoli and Luca Tommasi, both from the University G. d’Annunzio, in Italy, took to a techno club, where they ran simulations on various people they'd never met before. The researchers would approach a person, yell in their ear, “Hai una sigaretta?” (Do you have a cigarette?), and wait for a favorable or a negative reply. The experts selected two groups of 88 people, and asked each of them the question either in their left or their right ear. The results revealed that 34 of 88 individuals who were asked in the right ear answered the question with “Yes.”

On the other hand, only 17 of 88 unwilling participants who heard the question with their left ear answered favorably. “The present work is one of the few studies demonstrating the natural expression of hemispheric asymmetries, showing their effect in everyday human behavior,” the experts said. They also underlined the fact that previous studies had indicated the fact that people tended to favor sounds coming from the right ear when they could hear with both of them, Wired informs.

One possible reason for that, the experts hypothesized, could be that the right ear auditory stream might be considered more important because it was analyzed in the left brain hemisphere, where most of the linguistic processing inside the cortex was carried out. “These results seem to be consistent with the hypothesized differential specialization of right and left hemispheres,” Marzoli and Tommasi said. They also revealed that the two hemispheres might also correspond to positive and negative emotions, and that speaking in the right ear might send your message to a part of the listener's brain that had more good feelings in it.

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