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Brain Cogn. 2014 Feb;84(1):85-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2013.11.006. Epub 2013 Dec 8.

Handedness differences in information framing.

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University of Toledo, United States. Electronic address:
University of Toledo, United States.


Previous research has shown that strength of handedness predicts differences in sensory illusions, Stroop interference, episodic memory, and beliefs about body image. Recent evidence also suggests handedness differences in the susceptibility to common decision biases such as anchoring and sunk cost. The present paper extends this line of work to attribute framing effects. Sixty-three undergraduates were asked to advise a friend concerning the use of a safe allergy medication during pregnancy. A third of the participants received negatively-framed information concerning the fetal risk of the drug (1-3% chance of having a malformed child); another third received positively-framed information (97-99% chance of having a normal child); and the final third received no counseling information and served as the control. Results indicated that, as predicted, inconsistent (mixed)-handers were more responsive than consistent (strong)-handers to information changes and readily update their beliefs. Although not significant, the data also suggested that only inconsistent handers were affected by information framing. Theoretical implications as well as ongoing work in holistic versus analytic processing, contextual sensitivity, and brain asymmetry will be discussed.


Belief updating; Decision making; Framing; Handedness; Individual differences; Neuroscience; Risk

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