Take your seats: leftward asymmetry in classroom seating choice

Harms, Victoria, L.
Poon, Lisa, J.O.
Smith, Austen, K.
Elias, Lorin, J.
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Frontiers Media S.A.

Despite an overall body symmetry, human behavior is full of examples of asymmetry, from writing or gesturing to kissing and cradling. Prior research has revealed that theatre patrons show a bias towards sitting on the right side of a movie theatre. Two competing theories have attempted to explain this seating asymmetry: one posits that expectation of processing demand drives the bias; the other posits that basic motor asymmetries drive the bias. To test these theories we assessed the real-world classroom seating choices of university students using photographs. A bias for students to choose seats on the left side of the classroom was observed, in contrast to the right side bias observed in theatre seating studies. These results provide evidence in support of a processing-expectation bias.

Copyright © 2015 Harms, Poon, Smith and Elias. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). The use, distribution and reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
laterality, behavioral asymmetry, hemispheric asymmetry, cognitive processing, motor asymmetry
Harms, V.L., Poon, L.J.O., Smith, A.K.,& Elias, L.J. (2015). Take your seats: Leftward asymmetry in classroom seating choice. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9, 457. http://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00457