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Where do you hold your cellphone? Your brain decides

May 20, 2013 at 10:16 AM ET

Woman talking on cell phone.
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Right-handed and left-brained?

When you talk on the cellphone, do you hold it up to your right ear or left?

A group of researchers at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan suggest that how you hold your phone could give away the dominant half of your brain.

The lesson the group took away was this: Most right-handed people, who eat and write and throw with their right hand, also prefer to talk with their cellphone held up to their right ear. Left-handed people hold their phone to their left ear.

They explain their findings involving 717 subjects in the Journal of the American Medical Association's Head and Neck Surgery journal in May this year.

Of all the people who took an online survey, 90 percent were right-handed. And more than half of them — 68 percent — said they held their phone to their right ear. Among the left-handed phone holders (65 people in all) 72 percent said they held up their phone to their right ear.

There were some caveats: Some survey responders did note that their capable hand (rather than their listening ear) was what guided their cellphone holding habits — right-handed folks did note that the device just felt more comfortable in their right hand. Also, people's natural cellphone handedness was thrown off if they had trouble hearing with one ear — as you'd expect, they held the phone to the ear that worked.

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about technology and science. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.




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