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Brain Cogn. 2002 Mar-Apr;48(2-3):480-4.

Which cheek to turn? The effect of gender and emotional expressivity on posing behavior.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne, Parkville VIC, Australia.


Nicholls et al. (1999, Proc. Royal Soc. B, 266, 1517-1522) demonstrated that models turn their left or right cheeks when expressing or concealing emotion, respectively. This study examined whether emotionally expressive individuals are more likely to turn their left cheek when posing for a photograph than less emotionally expressive individuals. One hundred twenty-four normal participants completed an Emotional Expressivity Scale (EES) and posed for a photograph. Females had a higher EES than males and there was a trend for left cheek posers to have a higher EES than right cheek posers. Females were more likely to turn their left cheek than were males. Results support our argument that emotionally expressive individuals turn their left cheek when posing. The higher incidence of leftward poses in females than males may reflect the higher EES for females. These results support the proposition that the leftward bias in painted portraits is related to a desire to capture the emotive qualities of the left side of the face.

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