An investigation of left/right driving rules on deviations while walking

Nicole A. Thomas, Owen Churches, Ian White, Christine Mohr, Yann Schrag, Sabrina Obucina, Michael E.R. Nicholls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


When traversing through an aperture, such as a doorway, people characteristically deviate towards the right. This rightward deviation can be explained by a rightward attentional bias which leads to rightward bisections in far space. It is also possible, however, that left or right driving practices affect the deviation. To explore this possibility, Australian (left-side drivers) and Swiss (right-side drivers) participants (n = 36 & 34) walked through the middle of an aperture. To control for the sway of the body, participants started with either their left or right foot. Sway had a significant effect on participants’ position in the doorway and the amount of sway was greater for Australians—perhaps due to national differences in gait. There was a significant rightward deviation for the Swiss, but not for the Australians. It is suggested that driving practices have a small additive effect on rightward attentional biases whereby the bias is increased for people who drive on the right and reduced in people who drive on the left.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0186171
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

Cite this