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  • Past to the Left, Future to the Right

    Thinking about time is metaphorically grounded in knowledge about space, where past is to the left, and the future to the right. When choosing an object with the past (vs. future) in mind, a given object is more likely to be chosen when displayed on the left rather than the right.

    Charles Y. Z. Zhang and Norbert Schwarz (2011) 

  • Left and right in the story of evolution

    (About the primaeval worm, our ancestor of 590 million years ago.) Put our front-rear asymmetry together with our dorsal-ventral asymmetry and we have automatically defined a left side and a right side. But unlike the other two axes, we find no general reason to distinguish the left side from the right side: no reason why they should be anything other than mirror images. Danger is not more likely to threaten from the left or the right side, though it may well be more likely above or below. The prettiest real life example (of an exception) I can think of is the wonkey-eyed jewel squid of Australian waters, whose left eye is much larger than its right. It swims at a 45-degree angle, with the larger, telescopic left eye looking upwards for food, while the smaller right eye looks below for predators. (other exceptions: the wrybill, the fiddler crabs). Trilobite fossils often display bite marks, indicating narrow escapes from predators. The fascinating thing is that about 70 per cent of these bite marks are on the right-hand side. Either trilobites had an asymmetrical awareness of predators, like the wonky eyed jewel squid, or their predators had handedness in their attack strategy. But those are exceptions, mentioned for their curiosity value and to make a revealing contrast with the symmetrical world of our primitive worm and its descendants. Our crawling archetype has a left and a right side which are mirror images of each other. (Dawkins, 2004)

  • Green and the left side

    In Dutch and German there is the expression ‘sitting on someone’s green side’. That is the same as on someone’s left side, so sitting on the side of his or her heart. Who ‘sits on the green side’, is closer to the heart of the other. Related to this is the expression ‘not being green about something’, which means ‘not being fond of something’.
    Heller (1989)

  • Effect of degree of disorder or assymmetry

    The degree of disorder or order is linked to sadness or happiness (Osgood, 1957). Jesús Ibáñez (2010) from the Pompeu Fabra University in Spain has done research on the connection between the emotions pleasant / unpleasant and the degree of symmetry in a composition. The use of symmetry to describe intrinsic attractiveness or rejection has been inspired by recent studies in which it has been established that perception of symmetry in the human face and health are linked to each other. Johnston (2007) states that symmetry is an indication of immunology. The less asymmetry in a human body, the better the immune system. That would be the reason why we are attracted by symmetrical people. The increase of asymmetry, and thus of aversion, described in the Ibáñez study, manifests itself mainly in the degree of rotation of the lines in the composition, and in the difference in length of the lines.

  • Direction of impressionist and expressionist paintings

    Research into the orientation of Impressionist or Expressionist paintings shows that expressionism, with mainly portraits and still lives as the subject, has a majority of vertical paintings. While impressionism, with landscapes or outer views as an important subject, counts the most horizontal paintings. Verticality has deeper subjects than horizontal. “They sought around with the eye and not in the mysterious depths of the mind.” Gauguin, about the superficial representation of reality among the Impressionists.
    (Alpaerts, 1980)