Left-handers know what’s left is right: Handedness and object affordance

Nicole A. Thomas, Rebekah Manning, Elizabeth J. Saccone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We live in a right-hander’s world. Although left-handers become accustomed to using right-handed devices, an underlying preference for objects that afford the dominant hand could remain. We employed eye tracking while left- and right-handed participants viewed advertisements for everyday products. Participants then rated aesthetic appeal, purchase intention, and perceived value. Left-handed participants found advertisements for products that more easily afforded them action to be more aesthetically appealing. They also indicated greater future purchase intention for products that were oriented towards the left hand, and gave these products a higher perceived value. Eye tracking data showed that object handles attracted attention, and were also able to retain participants’ attention. Further, across multiple eye movement measures, our data show that participant eye movements were altered by the orientation of the handle, such that this side of the image was examined earlier and for longer, regardless of handedness. Left-handers’ preferences might be stronger because they are more aware of object orientation, whereas right-handers do not experience the same difficulties. These findings highlight intrinsic differences in the way in which we perceive objects and our underlying judgments about those products, based on handedness.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0218988
Number of pages20
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2019


  • vision
  • eye movements
  • attention
  • advertising
  • psychological attitudes
  • surveys
  • analysis of variance
  • behavior

Cite this