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What’s in a Kiss? Spatial Experience Shapes Directional Bias During Kissing

Abstract

One of the less-known functional asymmetries in humans is the rightward head-turning bias, in which infants spend more time turning their head to the right, rather than to the left. Observational studies showed that this asymmetry disappears around the age of 3 months. Recently, an intriguing observation found a similar rightward head-turning bias during kissing, apparently indicating that the early head-motor bias persists into adulthood. Here we challenge the theory of the innate head-turning bias in adults during lip kissing, showing by means of behavioral and observational studies that the direction of the bias is culturally dependent. Moreover, we suggest that the head-turning bias during kissing is an acquired behavioral asymmetry, probably shaped by spatial experience within cultural habits (i.e., reading direction), rather than reflecting pre-wired hemispherical lateral asymmetry.

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Correspondence to Samuel Shaki.

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Shaki, S. What’s in a Kiss? Spatial Experience Shapes Directional Bias During Kissing. J Nonverbal Behav 37, 43–50 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10919-012-0141-x

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Keywords

  • Head-turning bias
  • Kissing
  • Reading direction
  • Cross-cultural