Childrens' left-turning preference is not modulated by magical ideation

Jürg C. Streuli, Gina Obrist, Peter Brugger
2016 Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition  
The literature on human turning preferences is inconsistent. While the few studies with children below 14 years of age uniformly describe an overall left-turning (counterclockwise) tendency, a recent Internet study with more than 1500 adults found a right-sided (clockwise) bias. We set out to investigate spontaneous turning behaviour in children age 5-3 years and, based on neuropsychiatric work in adults, also explored a potential association with magical thinking. Findings indicated a clear
more » ... ndicated a clear left-turning preference, independent of a participant's sex and handedness. Whether a child responded a question about the existence of extrasensory communication in the affirmative or not was unrelated to direction and size of turning bias and lateral preference. Our results are consistent with a left-sided turning preference reported for children, but in opposition to the clockwise bias recently described in a large-scale study with adults. Whether they point to a maturational gradient in the preferred direction of spontaneous whole-body rotation or rather to a lack of comparability between measures used in observational versus Internet-based studies remains to be further investigated. Regarding a purported association between body turns and magical thinking, our study is preliminary, as only one single question was used to probe the latter. Abstract The literature on human turning preferences is inconsistent. While the few studies with children below 14 years of age uniformly describe an overall left-turning (counterclockwise) tendency, a recent internet study with more than 1500 adults found a right-sided (clockwise) bias. We set out to investigate spontaneous turning behavior in children age 5 to 13 years and, based on neuropsychiatric work in adults, also explored a potential association with magical thinking. Findings indicated a clear left-turning preference, independent of a participant's sex and handedness. Whether a child responded a question about the existence of extrasensory communication in the affirmative or not was unrelated to direction and size of turning bias and lateral preference. Our results are consistent with a left-sided turning preference reported for children, but in opposition to the clockwise bias recently described in a largescale study with adults. Whether they point to a maturational gradient in the preferred direction of spontaneous whole-body rotation or rather to a lack of comparability between measures used in observational vs. internet-based studies remains to be further investigated. Regarding a purported association between body turns and magical thinking, our study is preliminary, as only one single question was used to probe the latter.
doi:10.1080/1357650x.2015.1134565 pmid:27221655 fatcat:e2knpm5qnnhjrivbqbqtykqbpu