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Laterality. 2014;19(6):745-64. doi: 10.1080/1357650X.2014.912657. Epub 2014 Apr 30.

Handedness predicts motivation to switch from the status quo.

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a Department of Psychology , Centenary College of Louisiana , Shreveport , LA , USA.


Degree of handedness is a correlate of structural brain asymmetries and predicts individual differences in episodic memory, belief updating and various biases in decision-making. We examined whether handedness moderated the status quo bias given previous research suggests that both constructs are related to loss aversion. Participants answered hypothetical scenarios in which they decided either to stay with the status quo or to switch. Results indicated that consistent and inconsistent right-handers both exhibited status quo bias (Experiment 1; N=180), but inconsistent right-handers were more (or less) likely to stick with the status quo when informed of a positive (or negative) past experience. When provided with more equivocal information about the quality of the status quo and alternative, consistent-handers (CH) were more likely to show a status quo bias (Experiment 2; N=222). Compared to CH, we argue that inconsistent-handers (IH) more readily update their beliefs in a manner consistent with how the status quo and alternative options are presented-switching when finding a reason to favour the alternative and staying when the status quo is described more favourably. These handedness differences fit a motivational account explaining status quo bias rather than a loss aversion account.


Decision-making; Handedness; Hemispheric differences; Individual differences; Status quo bias

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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