Saturday science subject: The right ear

Is someone calling you on the phone to ask for something? Hold the receiver up to your right ear—you may end up fulfilling the request better. At least, one would draw that conclusion after seeing the results of three new studies conducted by a pair of Italian researchers. ScienceDaily says the studies demonstrate a "natural side bias" for listening that "manifests itself in everyday human behavior."

Dr. Luca Tommasi and Daniele Marzoli did their research in noisy night clubs, where they recorded how members communicated with each other and with the researchers. According the first study, 72% of interactions between the 286 clubbers occurred with the listener offering his or her right ear.

The third study proved even more interesting:

In the third study, the researchers intentionally addressed 176 clubbers in either their right or their left ear when asking for a cigarette. They obtained significantly more cigarettes when they spoke to the clubbers' right ear compared with their left.

Tommasi and Marzoli say their numbers confirm that the right ear—and, by extension, the brain's left hemisphere—has an advantage for verbal communication.

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