Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Handedness affects the coding of affective information.

Interesting correlates from BrunyƩ et al.:
The body specificity hypothesis posits that the way in which people interact with the world affects their mental representation of information. For instance, right- versus left-handedness affects the mental representation of affective valence, with right-handers categorically associating good with rightward areas and bad with leftward areas, and left-handers doing the opposite. In two experiments we have tested whether this hypothesis can: extend to spatial memory, be measured in a continuous manner, be predicted by extent of handedness, and how the application of such a heuristic might vary as a function of informational specificity. A first experiment demonstrated systematic and continuous spatial location memory biases as a function of associated affective information; right-handed individuals misremembered positively- and negatively-valenced locations as further right and left, respectively, relative to their original locations. Left-handed individuals did the opposite, and in general those with stronger right- or left-handedness showed greater spatial memory biases. A second experiment tested whether participants would show similar effects when studying a map with high visual specificity (i.e., zoomed in); they did not. Overall we support the hypothesis that handedness affects the coding of affective information, and better specify the scope and nature of body-specific effects on spatial memory.

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