Home » News » Left Side of Face More Emotional, Aesthetically Pleasing

Left Side of Face More Emotional, Aesthetically Pleasing

Left Side of Face More Emotional, Aesthetically PleasingAre you ready for your next photo shoot? If so, be sure to position so that your left cheek is close to the camera.

These suggestions come from a new Wake Forest University study that suggests images of the left side of the face are perceived and rated as more pleasant than pictures of the right side of the face.

Investigators believe the findings may be due to the fact that we present a greater intensity of emotion on the left side of our face.

Kelsey Blackburn and James Schirillo have published their findings online in Springer’s journal Experimental Brain Research.

Human emotions are often judged from facial expressions. Prior research suggests that the left side of the face is more intense and active during emotional expression. It is also noteworthy that Western artists’ portraits predominantly present subjects’ left profile.

Blackburn and Schirillo investigated whether there are differences in the perception of the left and right sides of the face in real-life photographs of individuals.

The authors explain: “Our results suggest that posers’ left cheeks tend to exhibit a greater intensity of emotion, which observers find more aesthetically pleasing.

“Our findings provide support for a number of concepts — the notions of lateralized emotion and right hemispheric dominance with the right side of the brain controlling the left side of the face during emotional expression.”

In the study, participants were asked to rate the pleasantness of both sides of male and female faces on gray-scale photographs. The researchers presented both original photographs and mirror-reversed images, so that an original right-cheek image appeared to be a left-cheek image and vice versa.

Blackburn and Schirillo found a strong preference for left-sided portraits, regardless of whether the pictures were originally taken of the left side, or mirror-reversed. The left side of the face was rated as more aesthetically pleasing for both male and female posers.

Objective review of facial variation discovered that the left-side of the face displayed different measurements of pupil size — often considered a reliable unconscious measurement of interest.

The findings confirm that pupils dilate in response to more interesting stimuli — in the study, to more pleasant-looking faces — and constrict when looking at unpleasant images. In the experiment, pupil size increased with pleasantness ratings.

Source: Springer

Left Side of Face More Emotional, Aesthetically Pleasing

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Left Side of Face More Emotional, Aesthetically Pleasing. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 23 Apr 2012)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.