Keep this in mind the next time you're seated to your boss' right. After a tour of Italian nightclubs, research assistants found that twice as many cigarettes could be bummed if the request was made in someone's right ear.
Photo by Rob!.
The Italian researchers were following up on many studies showing that humans perceive and respond to auditory input differently through their different ears. They put it to the test in the loud discos of Pescara, Italy, so that leaning in and asking for a cigarette from 88 people wouldn't seem quite so odd. No word on the relative looks or dress of the person doing the asking, but the study's organisers think they know why the right ear was far more successful:
Researchers have noted that humans tend to have a preference for listening to verbal input with their right ears and that given stimulus in both ears, they'll privilege the syllables that went into the right ear. Brain scientists hypothesize that the right ear auditory stream receives precedence in the left hemisphere of the brain, where the bulk of linguistic processing is carried out.
You'll need a little subtlety to try and work this bit of biological quirk into daily life or important requests, but it's worth keeping in mind next time you're trying to score a free water bottle off a bartender, or a ride home, or even sensible directions.
Requests to the Right Ear Are More Successful Than to the Left [Wired Science]