In Your Ear

The way to a man’s heart? Through his left ear

If you’re thinking of asking your beloved to marry you, make sure that you utter your declaration of love into his or her left ear; it may increase your chances of hearing a heart-lifting “yes”. New research suggests that declarations of love, jokes, or words of anger are best remembered when they are heard through the left ear, while instructions, directions and non-emotional messages have more impact on the right side.

It is all to do with how our brains process information. Although the left and right hemispheres, or sides, of the brain are similar structures, they have specialised functions. The left side, it is suggested, is more logic-based and dominant, while the right is the more imaginative side, more visual, intuitive, emotional and spatially aware. Because the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, the left ear has been shown in some research to be the route to the emotional side of the brain, and the right ear to the non-emotional, logical side.

But it’s not just ears that are affected. The right eye has been shown to be best for processing colours, the right foot is the most vulnerable to tickling, the left cheek the more favourable one to kiss, and the left side is the favoured one for holding babies. Support for the idea comes from a number of psychological and brain scanning studies, and from research based on patients with brain injuries or structural changes.

Thinking back to the famous scene in It’s a Wonderful Life, the young Mary tells the young George that she’ll love him until the day she dies — into his left ear. But that’s also his bad ear.

Explore posts in the same categories: Reference - Life, Reference - Science, Reference - Writing, Science

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