Did you know that the right ear tends to be better at processing verbal stimuli? This is because the right ear sends input to the brain’s left hemisphere, and most people have left-hemisphere dominance for language function. In audiology, it’s called the “right ear effect” or the “right ear advantage.”
Italian researchers Luca Tommasi and Daniele Marzoli have taken the “right ear advantage” one step further and found that people are more likely to comply with a request when it is asked into the right ear.
In a 2009 study, they had a confederate visit a noisy Italian nightclub and ask random people for cigarettes. Strangers complied with these requests about twice as often when the requests were asked into the right ear (as opposed to into the left ear).
So, the next time you talk baby names with your partner and you’re side-by-side — on an airplane, in a car, in bed, etc. — be sure you’re on his or her right side.