Scientist: Why people often have a preference for kissing

Scientist: Why people often have a preference for kissing

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Kissing and hugging: Why people have side preferences

When people hug, they usually start with the right hand. There are similar preferences for other social touches such as kissing. According to researchers, it plays a role whether you are left-handed or right-handed. However, this is not enough as a sole explanation.

Kissing is healthy

A few years ago, when US scientists carried out a study in which a lot of kissing was done worldwide, they found that kissing on the mouth was widespread in only a few cultures. However, those who do so do not only experience moments of happiness but also do some good for their health, according to research. Because according to various studies, kissing strengthens the immune system and reduces stress. But why do people actually close their eyes when kissing? And why do they have page preferences? Researchers have answers to these questions.

Why people close their eyes when kissing

A few years ago, scientists from the University of London came to the conclusion that when kissing, people often close their eyes because the brain has difficulty processing other senses while focusing on visual stimuli.

German and New Zealand researchers are now reporting why people have side preferences when kissing and other social touches.

Page preference when touching in social contexts

When touching in social contexts, such as when kissing or hugging, people often have a side preference, for example tilt their heads to the right rather than to the left when kissing.

There are various theories about the causes.

Researchers from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf and the Victoria University of Wellington have compiled an overview article in the journal “Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews” to use the data they have been using to test the theories .

As stated in a RUB announcement, the team led by private lecturer Dr. Sebastian Ocklenburg and Julian Packheiser from the Bochum biopsychology department that the observed results cannot be explained solely by whether someone is right-handed or left-handed.

It does matter, but it also depends on the emotional context.

Left shift in emotional situations

"There is a general preference among the population to lean their heads to the right when kissing, to initiate a hug with their right hand and to weigh babies in their left arms," ​​explains Julian Packheiser.

When kissing and hugging, it is assumed that people have a dominant leadership hand with which they initiate the movement.

Weighing, according to the theory, keeps the dominant hand free to do other things while holding the child.

“Since social touch often goes hand in hand with movement, it is reasonable to assume that handedness has an influence on the side preference,” said Sebastian Ocklenburg.

In their review, the scientists list numerous studies that demonstrate the influence of handedness. However, this alone cannot explain the page preferences; the emotional context also plays a role.

"In emotional situations, the page preference shifts to the left," Packheiser explains. "And regardless of whether the emotions are positive or negative."

So for preference it doesn't matter whether two people hug each other because they look forward to seeing each other again or because one wants to comfort the other.

Emotions are processed asymmetrically in the brain

The researchers explain the left shift in emotional compared to neutral situations by the fact that emotions are primarily processed in the right brain, which controls the movements of the left half of the body.

"There is clear evidence that motor and emotional networks in the brain interact and are closely interconnected," says Ocklenburg.

It is not only the behavioral data from the studies on social touch that speak for the theory of right-hemispherical emotion processing, but also results from imaging and neurophysiological studies.

According to the authors, the asymmetry in human social contact is best explained by a combination of motor preferences and right-hemispherical emotional dominance. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: What REALLY Turns People On Explained by SCIENCE (January 2023).