Reading and Righting




Right is left and left is right…right? Or wrong??!


This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science


Let me explain. We process what we see with the OPPOSITE side of our brain. That is, our LEFT brain interprets what we see on the RIGHT. But how do these sides differ?


Enter Elena Gorbunova and Maria Falikman, from the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Russia. They asked twenty-seven right-handed native Russian speakers to find specific letters within strings of letters. As the subjects watched a screen, letters appeared on the right, the left, or on both sides simultaneously. Researchers measured reaction times and accuracy in finding the target letter.


Results? It seems people who read left-to-right process information faster on their left visual side. The right brain processes each individual letter, the left brain processes groups of letters.


These findings are useful for improving user interfaces, online courses, and games. They could also help accommodate reading disabilities — like putting words on the left side of a screen to help comprehension.


Sometimes, life is not about being right. It’s about being left!