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Updated 27 July 2017

Do you tilt your head to the left or right when you kiss?

A study found that more than two-thirds of kiss initiators and kiss recipients turned their heads to the right.

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The long-awaited kiss is coming. Do you tilt your head to the left or the right?

New research says most people are "hardwired" to turn their head to the right before locking lips with a romantic partner.

Kissers observed at home

"We as humans make lots of behaviours while interacting with others every day, but almost all the time we are not aware of the biases we have in those behaviours, such as in turning the head to one side during lip kissing," said study lead author Rezaul Karim. He's with the department of psychology at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh.

The study included 48 married couples in Bangladesh who volunteered to be observed while they kissed in their homes. More than two-thirds of kiss initiators and kiss recipients turned their heads to the right.

Irrespective of the direction we lean in for the kiss, not everyone is a good kisser, and many of us could do with some advice on the finer points of kissing.

People also often wonder how hygienic it is to kiss people on the mouth, and according to a Health24 article the mouth has over 700 bacteria that can be transferred during kissing.

Handedness predicted head-leaning direction in kiss initiators, but not in kiss recipients. The direction of kiss initiators' head-leaning strongly predicted the kiss recipients' head-leaning direction, which suggests that the kiss recipients try to match their partners' head-leaning direction, the researchers said.

Preferences observed in womb

The study, published recently in the journal Scientific Reports, adds to previous work conducted in Western countries, according to the researchers.

"Prior works could not rule out cultural learning due to having Western samples. It turns out we, as humans, are similar even if our social values differ," said study co-author Michael Proulx, from the department of psychology at the University of Bath in England.

"Head turning is one of the earliest biases seen in development – even in the womb a preference for turning the head to the right is observable before that of favouring the right hand or foot. Whether this fundamental bias is innate and extends into adulthood is a lingering question for neuroscience and psychology," Karim noted in a University of Bath news release.

 
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