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Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Surprising findings department
In the field of weird research, psychologists and survey-givers take note: it appears that surveys taken on paper may be marred by the left-right bias. Wazzat? It's the tendency to answer more positively -- e.g. "definitely agree" vs. "mostly agree" -- when the checkmarks are listed down the left side of the page rather than listed laterally from left to right; we have a preference, in a sense, for the left-hand side of the page.
Researchers at the University of Melbourne (Australia) led by Andrea Loftus found that tendency in students taking a classroom satisfaction survey. Strange as it is, this finding would appear to have wide-reaching implications for paper polling, as argued by this blog of "digestible" psychological research.
What's strange is that newspaper editors have long published the most important story of the day, or "lead story," in the right-hand column, figuring, perhaps, that the right column is closest to the part of the page that gets turned and looked at more closely or often. Does this bring that into question, too?
Thanks to Marginal Revolution.