Do reading habits influence aesthetic preferences?

Treiman, Rebecca; Allaith, Zainab
September 2013
Reading & Writing;Sep2013, Vol. 26 Issue 8, p1381
Academic Journal
We tested the idea that the directionality of a person's primary writing system has influences outside the domain of reading and writing, specifically influences on aesthetic preferences. The results of several previous studies suggest that people whose primary writing system goes from left to right prefer pictures of moving and static objects that face right over their mirror images that face left. People whose writing system goes from right to left, in several studies, prefer pictures that face left. We attempted to replicate these findings by testing Bahraini users of Arabic ranging from 2nd grade through 12th grade. Bahraini participants preferred right-facing pictures rather than those that faced in the direction of their writing system, and this preference was somewhat stronger in older students than in younger students. As expected, US fourth graders preferred right-facing pictures. There was no statistically significant difference between them and Bahraini fourth graders. Our results call into question the idea that the directionality of people's primary writing system influences their preferences for pictures.


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